Phi Kappa Phi Logo
 

 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Summerville Campus
Augusta University

The 20th Annual Phi Kappa Phi Student Research and Fine Arts Conference is an opportunity for all undergraduate students of Augusta University (Summerville and Health Sciences campuses) to showcase their scholarly and artistic endeavors.

Schedule of Events

Opening Ceremony
JSAC Ballroom
       12:00 - 12:15 P.M.
        Welcome - Kevin Frazier, DMD, EdS
Vice Dean and Professor of Restorative Sciences, The Dental College of Georgia
Interim Chair, Oral Health and Diagnostics Sciences
Immediate Past President - Augusta University Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 324
Opening remarks - Dr. Gretchen B. Caughman
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Augusta University
Opening remarks - Dr. Brooks A. Keel
President, Augusta University and CEO, Augusta University Health System
   12:15 - 12:30 P.M.
Musical Selections by the University Singers
Directed by Dr. Bill Hobbins

 

JSAC Ballroom
12:30 - 2:00 P.M.
Session A: 12:30 - 1:15 P.M.
Session B:  1:15 - 2:00 P.M.

 

JSAC Ballroom
2:05 - 2:10 P.M. Keynote speaker introduction - Dr. Zach Kelehear
VP, Instruction & Innovation,
Professor College of Educaton Augusta University
2:10 - 3:00 P.M. Keynote address - Scott Thorp, MFA
Chair, Department of Art and Design
Associate Vice President of Interdisciplinary Research

 

Varied Locations
Session I
Go with the Flow: Transporting Manikins to the OK Edge

3:15 - 4:30 P.M.

JSAC Hardy Room

Session II
Medieval Women Writers get to the Heart of the Matter over Coffee

3:15 - 4:15 P.M.

JSAC Butler Room

Session III
BRET NSAID’s Exciting new Novel: My Unconventional Aunti Serotonin

3:15 - 4:45 P.M.

JSAC Coffeehouse

Session IV
Georgia Blurr Stars in a New Musical: Classroom Anxiety in the Digital Age

3:15 - 4:15 P.M.

    JSAC - Reese Library 141

Session V
It’s not you, it’s Equilibrium

3:15 - 3:45 P.M.

JSAC Ballroom



 

JSAC Ballroom
5:00 - 6:00 P.M.

Closing Remarks by Dr. Julia Q. Davis
Director, Augusta University Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (CURS)

Awards Ceremony

 

Poster Session

JSAC Ballroom (all posters)
Session A: 12:30 - 1:15 P.M. (P1 - P18)
Session B:   1:15 - 2:00 P.M. (P19 - P36)

Select the Poster Session for additional information.

P1 - Flatfish assemblage and abundance differences between the St. Catherines Island and Satilla River estuaries

flatfish assemblage and abundance differences between the st. catherines island and satilla river estuaries

Presenter: Abigail Bickle and Alex Coleman
Authors: 
Abigail Bickle, Alex Coleman, Jessica Reichmuth, Dharma Thiruvaiyaru, Sankar Sethuraman, and Bruce Saul
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Jessica Reichmuth, Dr. Dharma Thiruvaiyaru, Dr. Sankar Sethuraman, and Dr. Bruce Saul
Institution/College/Department:
Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
St. Catherines Island is a pristine uninhabited barrier island off of the Georgia coast, and is believed to have experienced less anthropogenic alteration when compared to mainland estuarine habitats. In contrast, the Satilla River estuary has been historically affected by human activity, especially during the construction of navigational “cuts” through the marsh in the early 1900s. These cuts were used to support economic gain no longer in the area.  Because of the differences in human influence, we hypothesize the fish assemblages will be different. We compared abundance of various resident flatfish species captured when trawling and using gill nets in these two systems. As benthic species, flatfish may be especially affected by anthropogenic disturbances of the estuarine substrates. This study provides insight into the effects of human disturbances on benthic fish species populations and assemblages. We compared catch-per-unit effort for six flatfish species between data among several sites, seasonally, between 2015 and 2018. We also looked at environmental variables when comparing abundance. The data are reflective of differences that exist in resident flatfish populations, and this condition could be explained by anthropogenic activities.

Funding: Augusta University CURS Student Research Grant, Museum of Natural History, Department of Biological Sciences

P2 - Synthesis of Coumarin-Labeled Amino Acids via “Click” Chemistry

Synthesis of Coumarin-Labeled Amino Acids via “Click” Chemistry

Presenter: Angel Weathers
Authors: 
Angel Weathers and Iryna Lebedyeva
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Iryna Lebedyeva
Institution/College/Department:
  Chemistry and Physics (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
“Click” Chemistry is a convenient technique often applied during the synthesis of various bioconjugates. Several methods have been developed to administer “click” chemistry. Copper(1)-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) reactions usually provide high chemoselectivity under green reaction conditions, and good to great yields. Because of this, CuAAC reactions serve many applications in chemical biology. In copper halide catalyzed reactions copper iodide is frequently used to facilitate transformational changes within the reaction. Copper(1) is combined with salts, metal complexes, or ionic liquids to provide effective catalytic systems for reactions. The use of co-solvent systems such as the one used in this research project, dimethylformamide and water, improves reaction efficiency. The alkyne moiety is an indispensible component of “click” chemistry reactions. Coumarins are the specific class of fluorophores examined in this research project because they are highly sensitive fluorescent laser dyes that have extended spectra range, high emission quantum yields, and better solubility compared to more complex fluorescent tags. Amino acids are often used as building blocks because they are recognized by cell membrane proteins more readily. In this project, a number of amino acids labeled with coumarin tags through CuAAC catalyzed 1,2,3-triazole links have been developed to study their fluorescent properties.

Funding: Department of Chemistry and Physics

P3 - Investigating the requirement of HOB1 on the sensitivity of schizosaccharomyces pombe after exposure to various DNA damaging agents    

INVESTIGATING THE REQUIREMENT OF HOB1 ON THE SENSITIVITY OF SCHIZOSACCHAROMYCES POMBE AFTER EXPOSURE TO VARIOUS DNA DAMAGING AGENTS

Presenter: Arman Qureshi
Authors: 
Arman Qureshi and Amy L. Abdulovic-Cui
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Amy L. Abdulovic-Cui
Institution/College/Department:
  Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
It is inherently important that when damaged, DNA is repaired efficiently and with high accuracy. BIN1 encodes a protein that plays a role in genomic stability, specifically in cell cycle regulation, chromatin remodeling, and DNA repair. Previous research has shown that the protein Bin1 exhibits an inhibitory role in the double strand break repair pathway of non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). The homolog of BIN1, HOB1, is found in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. To understand the role HOB1 has on yeast survival after damage, two strains of S. pombe, a wild type strain (WT) and a strain without HOB1 (hob1Δ), were exposed to various DNA damaging agents. Each treatment introduced different types of DNA damage that require repair by different DNA repair pathways. These treatments included UV radiation, hydrogen peroxide treatment, Bleomycin treatment, and Cisplatin Treatment. After treatment with each respective agent, the death response of each strain was calculated and the % of surviving cells at multiple doses was graphed logarithmically. The data collected overwhelming support the idea that the presence of HOB1 has a positive role on the survival of yeast after DNA damage. The WT strains tested survived better than the hob1Δ counterparts.

Funding: Augusta University CURS Student Research Grant

P4 - Using YCF1 to investigate the ladies' tresses orchids of AU's summerville campus  

using ycf1 to investigate the ladies' tresses orchids of au's summerville campus

Presenter: Benjamin Overlie and William Saunders-Cummings
Authors: 
Benjamin Overlie, William Saunders-Cummings, Christopher Bates, and Charlotte Christy
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Christopher Bates and Dr. Charlotte Christy
Institution/College/Department:
  Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
The Spring Ladies’ Tresses orchid (Spiranthes vernalis Engelmann & A. Gray) is a native wildflower found in the lawns of Augusta University's Summerville campus. The origin of these plants is unknown. Orchids usually grow slowly from seed, leading to lifecycles that can take 5+ years. Despite this, individuals are present in lawns known to be two years old or less. Thus, either these plants are reproducing with unusual speed, or some arrived with landscaping materials such as sod. We are attempting to use chloroplast DNA sequences to determine their degree of relatedness.  For this, a strongly conserved gene, MATk, and a hypothetical reading frame, ycf1, were chosen. YCF1 is considered variable enough to show differences at the population level. Standard techniques for DNA extraction, amplification with PCR, and sequencing are being used.  The data will be used to address two questions:  1) Is ycf1 variable enough to distinguish among individual plants?; and, if so, 2) Are the campus plants all closely related or do distinctive subpopulations exist?

Funding: Augusta University CURS Student Research Grant, Department of Biological Sciences

P5 - Lavandula angustifolia use for dysmenorrhea in young women: a review of the literature    

lavandula angustifolia use for dysmenorrhea in young women: a review of the literature

Presenters: Brenda Nelson
Authors: 
Brenda Nelson1 and Dawn Langley-Brady2
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dawn Langley-Brady, MSN
Institution/College/Department:
  1College of Science and Mathematics (Augusta Univ.), 2Nursing (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Dysmenorrhea effects 20% of women causing missed school and work days and interferes with daily life. Dysmenorrhea is caused by menstrual uterine contractions which may result in pain, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Many women utilize pharmacological symptom management, but experience side effects such as edema, libido reduction and increased symptom severity. Aromatherapy is a holistic non-pharmacological approach to symptom reduction. Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils via inhalation or topical application to relieve pain, stress and more.  The purpose of this project is to review the literature surrounding Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) and dysmenorrhea to give a foundation for future research. PubMed, TRIP, and Cochrane Library databases were searched for peer-reviewed journals articles in English and published within the last 10 years with the following keywords: dysmenorrhea, lavender, aromatherapy and human. The literature review resulted in six articles meeting inclusion criteria. These articles established the effectiveness of lavender in reducing dysmenorrhea pain in the first three days of menstruation, through inhalation and abdominal application. Lavender essential oil is also effective in reducing nausea and headaches resulting in an alternative for women experiencing dysmenorrhea. Aromatherapy has fewer risks than pharmacological and surgical approaches to dysmenorrhea management and should be studied further.

P6 - Williamson ether reaction using a solar heat source designed for undergraduate chemistry laboratories

williamson ether reaction using a solar heat source designed for undergraduate chemistry laboratories

Presenter: Caroline Hammond, Kailey Wyman, and Gregory Blair
Authors:
Caroline Hammond, Kailey Wyman, Gregory Blair, and Brian Agee
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Brian Agee
Institution/College/Department:
  Chemistry and Physics (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Since the 1990’s, scientists have been attempting to make chemical synthesis procedures more environmentally friendly.  One area of environmental concern is the amount of electricity required to provide enough energy to complete an experiment. Recently proposed solar reflectors developed from satellite dishes have the ability to be incorporated into student laboratory procedures to eliminate electricity use while demonstrating green chemistry techniques at the same time. As a result, demand to incorporate more green chemistry techniques into student laboratories has increased. An effective means for minimizing the amount of electricity needed to drive chemical reactions to completion is proposed through the use of solar parabolic reflectors. A comparative study was conducted using an electrical and solar heat source on the Williamson Ether synthesis of 2-butoxynaphthalene. This reaction was chosen as the test reaction due to its widespread use among many undergraduate chemistry programs.

P7 - Nox1 facilitates invasion of pancreatic cancer cells through SNAIL/MMP-9 production in pancreatic stellate cells  

nox1 facilitates invasion of pancreatic cancer cells through snail/mmp-9 production in pancreatic stellate cells

Presenter: Catalina Godoy
Authors: 
Catalina Godoy1, Gabor Csanyi2, and Maria Sabbatini1
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Gabor Csanyi and Dr. Maria Sabbatini
Institution/College/Department:
1Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2Pharmacology and Toxicology (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Chronic pancreatitis (CP) and pancreatic cancer are two diseases that share a mutual histological feature known as fibrosis produced by pancreatic stellate cells (PaSCs). In response to pancreatic inflammation, PaSCs are activated from quiescent phenotype into myofibroblast-like cells, which express extracellular matrix components. PaSCs are also known to facilitate the migration and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells, which are accompanied by increased matrix metalloprotease (MMP) production and epithelial-to mesenchymal transition (EMT). NADPH oxidase (Nox) is a family of enzymes that catalyze the transfer of an electron from NAD(P)H to oxygen to generate superoxide or hydrogen peroxide. Because Nox1 is expressed in PaSCs, the objective of this study was to assess the extent to which Nox1 in PaSCs facilitates the migration and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells by regulating the expression of MMP and genes involved in EMT. We found that the lack of Nox1 lowers the expression of MMP-9 mRNA and the EMT-induced gene Snail in PaSCs.

Funding: Augusta University CURS Student Research Grant

P8 - miRNA and their effects on bone loss in traumatic brain injury patients

mirna and their effects on bone loss in traumatic brain injury patients

Presenter: Chandani Patel and Reeya Patel
Authors:
Chandani Patel, Reeya Patel, and Sadanand Fulzele
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Sadanand Fulzele
Institution/College/Department:
  Science and Mathematics (Augusta Univ.), Orthopedic Surgery (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been known to play a key role in bone regulation. Some miRNAs have been observed to increase bone formation via osteoblast formation and others seem to be involved in bone resorption via osteoclast formation. In this study, we aim to observe which miRNA of those secreted by cells during a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are involved in bone formation or bone resorption. Our focus miRNAs were: miRNA-151, miRNA-6991, miRNA-27a, miRNA-92, and miRNA-1224. Using mouse bone marrow monocytes (BMCs), we have induced osteoclast formation by feeding media containing macrophage colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) as well as receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANK-L). After osteoclastogenesis, it has been observed via tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining that miRNA-151 and miRNA-6991 have been up-regulated during osteoclast differentiation. Of the ones examined in our study, miRNA-27a, miRNA-92, and miRNA-1224 have shown an increase during osteoblast differentiation. The observations from this study can contribute insight for creating possible therapeutic methods for osteoporosis related diseases.

P9 - Serum-C terminal crosslinking telopeptide (CTX) as a predictive biomarker of bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of jaw (BRONJ): systematic review and meta-analysis

serum-c terminal crosslinking telopeptide (ctx) as a predictive biomarker of bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of jaw (bronJ): systematic review and meta-analysis

Presenter: Christina Sun, Mohamed E Awad, and Joshua Jernigan
Authors:
Christina Sun1, Mohamed E. Awad2, Joshua Jernigan3, and Mohammed Elsalanty2
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Mohammed Elsalanty, MBE, MCTS, PhD
Institution/College/Department:
  1Science and Mathematics (Augusta Univ.), 2Oral Biology (Augusta Univ.), 3Dental College of Georgia (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the validity of using preoperative serum C-terminal crosslinking telopeptide (CTX) levels as predictive factor of increased risk of developing medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ) in patients on bisphosphonate (BP) therapy who undergo invasive dental procedures. A search was conducted through PubMed, MEDLINE, and Web of Science, following PRISMA guidelines and the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Meta-analysis was conducted on the risk ratio. The methodological index for nonrandomized studies (MINORS) and Quality Appraisal of Reliability Studies (QAREL) checklist were used to assess quality. Eighteen clinical trials, involving 2301 patients were included. Most patients received Alendronate or Risedronate for an average of 62.14 months. The average serum CTX level in BP-treated patients before surgery was 217.67 pg/ml. Meta-analysis demonstrated that the cutoff in CTX level (150 pg/ml) was not predictive of BRONJ risk. The sensitivity of CTX value <150 pg/ml was 34.26% and the specificity was 77.08%. The use of CTX to diagnose BRONJ risk following dental procedures in bisphosphonate-treated patients is not justified. Further studies are needed to develop other reliable biomarkers.

Funding: National Institute of Health

P10 - Effects of chronic alcohol and glucose exposure on viability of alveolar macrophages

effects of chronic alohol and glucose exposure on viability of alveolar macrophages

Presenter: Elizabeth Keller
Authors:
Elizabeth Keller1, Tiana Curry-McCoy2, and Amanda Thomas
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Tiana Curry-McCoy, PhD MPH MPA; Amanda Thomas, MLS (ASCP)
Institution/College/Department:
  Science and Mathematics (Augusta Univ.), Allied Health Sciences

Abstract:
The adverse health risks associated with alcohol abuse and obesity are widely known by the general population. Although lesser known, studies have presented the lungs as secondary organs affected by such lifestyle factors. Healthy lungs are protected against infection and harmful airborne particles by macrophages, the working entities of the immune system which fight potential sources of infection. When these immune-responsive cells are compromised and unable to perform their functions, lung health may deteriorate. Therefore, a healthy pulmonary alveolar macrophage population is vital for adequate lung function. Chronic alcohol abuse and obesity have been shown to suppress alveolar macrophage function, thus lowering the lungs’ first line of defense. The objective of this study is to determine the effects of exogenous ethanol and increased glucose concentration on macrophage size and viability via an in vitro study on NR8383 rat alveolar macrophages. The study measures macrophage viability under treatment conditions.

Funding: Augusta University CURS Summer Scholars Program, SRP Grant

P11 - The role of CXCL10 and NF-kB signaling in macrophage influence on breast cancer invasion

the role of cxcl10 and nf-kb signaling in macrophage influence on breast cancer invasion

Presenter: Emilee Mikulsky
Authors:
Emilee Mikulsky and Dr. Jennifer Bradford
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Jennifer Bradford
Institution/College/Department:
Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Breast cancer is the second most deadly cancer with more than 260,000 people being diagnosed, and over 40,900 dying from it annually in the United States. This project focuses on triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is very aggressive due to the lack of hormone receptors. TNBC is characterized by an expansive stromal compartment that contains a large percentage of immune system macrophages, which correlates with poor patient prognosis. The Bradford lab has identified that the chemokine CXCL10 was found to be decreased at the mRNA and protein levels in TNBC cells when co-cultured with macrophages. The loss of CXCL10 might result in less destruction of tumors. To better understand the decrease in CXCL10, a cell invasion assay investigating invasion ability of the MDA-MB231 TNBC cell line was completed using macrophage conditioned media, with and without recombinant CXCL10, or a CXCL10 neutralizing antibody. We also investigated whether the NF-kappaB signaling pathway was involved by using primary bone marrow-derived macrophages from a NF-kappaB knockout mouse. The cell invasion assay showed that altering CXCL10 and NF-kappaB signaling in macrophages and/or the MDA-MB231 cells leads to differences in invasion ability.

Funding: Augusta University CURS Summer Scholars Program

P12 - The effects of acute and chronic ketosis on golf accuracy

the effects of acute and chronic ketosis on golf accuracy

Presenter: Grant Blume
Authors:
Grant Blume and Maleah Holland
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Maleah Holland
Institution/College/Department:
Kinesiology and Health Science (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Ketones, molecules produced as a byproduct of fat breakdown by the body, can be used as an alternate source of energy when glucose supplies are low. Several studies have shown that ketones may help with cognitive recovery and motor learning. This study examined the effects of both acute and chronic ketone supplementation on golf putting accuracy in middle-aged adults to determine if elevated circulating ketone levels improved accuracy. The results demonstrate no significant differences between the putting accuracy of the ketone group or placebo group. Data collection for this study will be continued to determine if a measurable difference can be seen with more data.

Funding: Augusta University Translational Research Program

P13 - Design and synthesis of quinolone-triazole conjugates as potential antibacterial agents

design and synthesis of quinolone-triazole conjugates as potential antibacterial agents

Presenter: Hitesh H. Honkanadavar and Queen Tran
Authors:
Hitesh H. Honkanadavar, Queen Tran, and Siva S. Panda
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Siva Panda
Institution/College/Department:
Chemistry and Physics (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Quinolones are one of the most important synthetic antibacterial agents have been widely used in the treatment of diverse infections including urinary tract, respiratory and bone joint as well as sexually transmitted diseases, prostatitis, pneumonia, and acute bronchitis. However, quinolone resistance increases towards many Gram-negative and Gram-positive species. Molecular conjugation has been known for the rational design of new biologically active entities by fusion of compounds and/or pharmacophores recognized and derived from known bio-active molecules. The present study directs towards the construction of novel quinolone-triazole conjugates and investigation of their antimicrobial properties. The detail results will be discussed at the conference.

Funding: Augusta University CURS Student Research Grant

P14 - Your neighbor's approach: looking at various medical systems within the Augusta area

your neighbor's approach: looking at various medical systems within the augusta area

Presenter: Houlton Boomer
Authors: 
Houlton Boomer and Angela Bratton
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Angela Bratton
Institution/College/Department:
History, Anthropology, & Philosophy (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
This research focuses on how the health care system one is used to using effects ones ability to seek and receive care in another System. Specific examples used within the study are the Western Medical System, The Traditional Chinese Medical System, and African American Root medicine. The study was done with interviews to health care providers and with surveys to citizens of the Augusta area. Unfortunately the data collected proved inconclusive with regards to the research question. However it did reveal a great deal of information about the patient population in the area, namely the tendency to remain with a single system with regards to health and the role of financial constraints in choice of healthcare system.

P15 - Examining the effects of AETOKTHONOS HYDRILLICOLA extract on oxidative stress in C6 cells  

examining the effects of aetokthonos hydrillicola extract on oxidative stress in c6 cells

Presenter: Kayla Ward
Authors:
Kayla Ward and Faith Wiley
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Faith Wiley
Institution/College/Department:
Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Aetokthonos hydrillicola, a species of cyanobacteria, has colonized an invasive species of hydrilla in the lakes of the Southeastern United States. This cyanobacterium is suspected to cause Avian Vacuolar Myclinopathy (AVM). AVM is a neurological disease that affect birds. Bald eagles and American coots have been primarily studied and known to be affected by AVM. Symptoms of AVM consist of brain lesions, loss of basic motor skills, and the disease often leads to death. Extracts of A. hydrillicola are toxic to C6 cells, and this cell line is used as a model to examine the mechanism of toxicity. The aim of this research project is to understand the role of oxidative stress in A. hydrillicola cytotoxicity and determine if antioxidant compounds may protect the cells. Common oxidative stress inhibitors, Gingko biloba extract and selenium, have been tested in different concentrations in order to determine if oxidative stress is present and preventable. These compounds did not prevent toxicity in the C6 cells exposed to the cyanobacterial extracts. The presence of oxidative is currently being further investigated using a 2’-7’dichlorofluorescin diacetate (DCFH-DA) assay, which indicates the presence of reactive oxygen species.

Funding: Department of Biological Sciences

P16 -The sublethal effects and bioaccumulations of 17-alpha-ethniyl estradiol in LUMBRICULUS VARIEGATUS

the sublethal effects and bioaccumulations of 17-alpha-ethniyl estradiol in lumbriculus variegatus

Presenter: Kikelomo Ogun-Semore
Authors:  
Kikelomo Ogun-Semore and Faith Wiley
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Faith Wiley
Institution/College/Department:
Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Freshwater sources are subject to contamination from toxic compounds and other harmful materials through improper sewage cleanup and pollution. Ethinyl estradiol (EE), a synthetic, steroidal estrogen used in contraception, is present in varying concentrations across freshwater sources worldwide. EE is also classified as an endocrine disruptor that is known to interfere with the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors can create adverse effects on bodily systems and have been found to affect behavioral patterns, enzymatic activity levels, and estrogen receptor levels. Preceding data has found that EE exposure leads to an increase in mortality, a decrease in offspring, and changes in reproductive morphology among freshwater invertebrates. The objective of this study was to observe the sublethal effects and bioaccumulation of ethinyl estradiol in Lumbriculus variegatus. Data collection on experimental endpoints, including reproduction rate, segment regrowth of L. variegatus, have been collected. The bioaccumulation of EE within L. variegatus was observed through sediment testing and an ethinyl estradiol ELISA. The data collected from this experiment contributes to information available on the effects of low-dosage endocrine disruptor concentrations on freshwater organisms. The effects of EE and its bioaccumulation could be extrapolated to include bioaccumulation of EE in organisms of higher trophic levels, including vertebrates.

Funding: Augusta University Translational Research Program, Department of Biological Sciences

P17 - Profiling G proteins using bioluminescence resonance energy transfer  

profiling g proteins using bioluminescence resonance energy transfer

Presenter: Maheen Farooq
Authors: 
Maheen Farooq1, Najeah Okashah2, Angela Spencer1, and Nevin Lambert2
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Angela Spencer, Dr. Nevin Lambert, Najeah Okashah
Institution/College/Department:
1Chemistry and Physics (Augusta Univ.), 2Pharmacology and Toxicology (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
GPCRs are receptors that act in signal transduction pathways via guanosine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins).  Extracellular ligands act on GPCRs resulting in activation of one or more G protein subtypes (Gs, Gi/o, Gq/11 and G12/13) affecting the concentration of intracellular second messenger molecules ultimately altering cellular function.  Cellular responses to external signals are typically studied indirectly by measuring concentration changes in second messengers.  However, this approach can be problematic as many GPCRs can activate multiple G protein subtypes, and many second messenger pathways engage in “crosstalk”.  To address this issue, we used Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET) to directly measure coupling between 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin) receptors and different G protein family subtypes.  We co-transfected cells with plasmid DNA encoding the 5-HT2B or 5-HT4 receptors fused to the bioluminescent protein nanoluciferase (NLuc) as well as plasmid DNA containing G protein subtypes fused to the fluorescent protein Venus.  In BRET assays, we found that mGsq couples to 5-HT2B and mGs couples with 5-HT4 in response to 5-HT activation.  These results are consistent with the literature.  Interestingly, initial studies suggest that activated 5-HT4 shows secondary coupling to mGsi highlighting the potential novel signaling pathways that can be elucidated using this technique. 

Funding: Augusta University CURS Student Research Grant

P18 - Is exercise the biggest influencer of happiness? Researching how influential exercise is in comparison to other variables in daily life  

is exercise the biggest influencer of happiness? researching how influential exercise is in comparison to other variables in daily life

Presenter: Megan Collins
Authors: 
Megan Collins
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Kim Davies
Institution/College/Department:
  Social Sciences (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
There have been multiple studies that indicate that there is a relationship between exercise and happiness.  In this research, I test whether exercise is the strongest factor when compared to other common variables in a person’s life for predicting happiness. Using the 2012 General Social Survey (GSS) data, I test several different variables in order to determine which of them has the strongest correlation with a person’s general happiness. The 2012 GSS consisted of 4,820 respondents that ranged in age from 18 to 89. Using logistic regression, I compare the variables of sex, marriage, age, frequency of exercise, employment, and income and found that exercise has a positive relationship with a person’s general happiness and that is the most strongly correlated variable. Other variables were also found to be significant and will be discussed in the poster.

P19 - Sequence analysis of ALU repeated elements for primate phylogenetic tree construction

sequence analysis of alu repeated elements for primate phylogenetic tree construction

Presenter: Nitish Sood and Mehul Mehra
Authors: 
Nitish Sood1, Anav Mittal2, Mehul Mehra1, and Christopher Bates1
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Christopher Bates, Anav Mittal
Institution/College/Department:
  1Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2University of California Berkeley

Abstract:
Phylogenetic tree construction can be a particularly challenging and time-intensive process. This study employs a novel computational approach to phylogenetic tree construction, using the Alu repeating element, a SINE. Repetitive elements including Short and Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements (SINEs/LINEs) have successfully been applied as accurate tools for phylogenetic analysis, as they are predominately unidirectional and homoplasy-free. However, previous analysis of phylogenetic relationships using these repeating elements has been limited to a small number of isolated repeats among relatively few organisms. As a highly repetitive sequence, the Alu element and its associated subfamilies can provide detailed analysis on evolutionary divergence among species in the Order Primates. This study identified shared sequences as Alu repeating elements that were conserved in both location and base-pair sequence between the primate genomes of interest. These shared sequences, derived from the Genome Library at the University of California San Diego, were analyzed to construct individual phylogenetic trees for each of the 49 Alu subfamilies. As this method solely requires the sequence analysis of available primate genomes, this serves as a cheaper and more time-efficient approach to phylogenetic tree construction for the Order Primates relative to biochemical and anatomical analysis.

P20 - Piper Nigrum in alzheimer's and cognitive dysfunction: a review of the literature

Piper nigrum in alzheimer's and cognitive dysfunction: a review of the literature

Presenter: Michael Jones-Asgill
Authors:
Michael Jones-Asgill1 and Dawn Langley-Brady2
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dawn Langley-Brady (MSN)
Institution/College/Department:
  1Kinesiology and Health Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2Nursing (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S develops Alzheimer’s dementia. Alzheimer’s is a chronic brain disorder affecting approximately five million Americans. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible form of dementia that progressively worsens memory and simple cognitive abilities. There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s. Current treatment includes pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches (e.g. aromatherapy). Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from aromatic plants and is being explored in cognition studies. Piper nigrum or black pepper has cognitive-enhancing properties. The purpose of this project was to review the literature regarding the use of black pepper in Alzheimer’s. PubMed, CINAHL, Ovid Medicine, and ProQuest databases were searched for peer-reviewed journal articles written in English and published since 2014 with the following keywords: Cognitive, essential oil, Piper nigrum, aromatherapy and Alzheimer’s. Nine articles were found that met the literature review criteria – three animal and six human studies. These studies established the effectiveness of black pepper essential oil for both improving function and reducing cognitive decline. These studies may open doors for aromatherapy research in Alzheimer’s. Despite efficacy, the preferred administration method (inhalation or topical) is unclear. Piper nigrum essential oil can potentially change Alzheimer’s patient’s disease trajectory and should be further studied.

P21 - Adipose HDAC9 deletion protect against diet induced obesity in mice through regulating energy expenditure

adipose hdac9 deletion protect against diet induced obesity in mice through regulating energy expenditure

Presenter: Nazeera Hassan
Authors:
Nazeera Hassan1, Abdalrahman Zarzour2, Ha Won Kim3, and Neal Weintraub2
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Ha Won Kim; Neal Weintraub, MD
Institution/College/Department:
1Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2Medicine (Augusta Univ.), 3Allied Health Sciences (Augusta Univ.),

Abstract:
Our group has previously identified histone deacetylase 9 (HDAC9) as a regulator of adipocyte differentiation, and its expression levels were elevated in diet induced obese (DIO) mice.  We also reported that global HDAC9 deletion protected mice against DIO through promoting beige adipogenesis. Here, we hypothesized that adipose HDAC9 correlate with human obesity similar to murine models, and its deletion is sufficient to protect against DIO. To test this hypothesis we crossed HDAC9 floxed mice with adiponectin-cre mice to generate adipose-specific HDAC9 knockout mice (AdipCre-HDAC9), which exhibited 30% less weight gain when fed high fat diet compared to control despite increased food intake, in association with increased energy combustion & O2 consumption, improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. However, unlike global HDAC9 deletion, this was not associated with increased beige adipogenesis nor increase in brown adipose tissue function. Interestingly, AdipoCre-HDAC9 mice fed normal chow diet didn’t exhibit altered energy expenditure nor weight differences when compared to littermate controls. These finding suggest that adipose HDAC9 regulate energy expenditure in response to high fat diet and can be a promising therapeutic target to combat obesity.

P22 - Vaccine proliferation in the face of public scrutiny

vaccine proliferation in the face of public scrutiny

Presenters: Nishita Sripathi
Authors: 
Nishita Sripathi and Wendy Turner
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Wendy Turner
Institution/College/Department:
1Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2History, Anthropology, & Philosophy (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Each newly conceptualized vaccine has faced the same arguments over the last two centuries. A detailed examination of these several vaccines and their influences on the public will hopefully provide a better understanding of why the same arguments against vaccines continuously come up, even though each vaccine becomes widely used and celebrated. I supported my analysis by examining modern vaccine case studies and how those results may or may not skew the public reaction. By focusing on these two areas of research, I tried to understand the reasons behind persisted vaccine apprehension, even though there have been multiple and well-supported conclusions that vaccines are essential to a healthy human population. Perhaps by understanding the public’s fear, I can one day suggest alternate methods of vaccine “roll out” and introduction to the public.

P23 - Synergistic effects on the combination of ERLOTINIB & EXO2 on head and neck cancer

synergistic effects of the combination of erlotinib & exo2 on head and neck cancer

Presenter: Parth Thakkar
Authors: 
Parth Thakkar1 and Yong Teng2
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Yong Teng
Institution/College/Department:
  1Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2Oral Biology (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
More than 90% of head and neck cancer is head and neck squamous cell carcinoma1 (HNSCC). Currently, the treatment involves modern surgery, conventional chemotherapy, and radiation. However, targeting, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been shown to prove advantageous for patient survival. EGFR activation leads to cell cycle progression. Blocking the EGFR by an antibody results in the inhibition of the receptor, therefore inhibition of cell proliferation. This makes EGFR a prime target for anticancer therapy, specifically with tyrosine kinase inhibitors being looked at as a possible form of inhibition. The goal of this project was to hopefully use small molecule inhibitor EXO2 and an EGFR specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor, Erlotinib, in a synergistic manner to fight against HNSCC. This study was done using cell cultures, MTT assay’s and western blot techniques, with cell cultures being done using the H6 cell line. The results from this study were found to be a preliminary success and will pave the way for future experiments in this area.

Funding: Augusta University CURS Summer Scholars Program

P24 - Effect of gabaergic neurons in susceptible versus resilient male rats to PTSD

effect of gabaergic neurons in susceptible versus resilient male rats to ptsd

Presenter: Rachael Dixon and Rohan Mandavilli
Authors: 
Rachael Dixon1, Rohan Mandavilli2, Kristopher M. Bunting3, Khadijah Alexander3, and Almira Vazdarjanova3
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Kristopher M. Bunting, MD; Dr. Almira Vazdarjanova, Khadijah Alexander
Institution/College/Department:
  1Psychological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 3Pharmacology and Toxicology (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological disorder that can occur after a traumatic event. Individuals with PTSD exhibit extreme anxiety and learning and memory difficulties. Once exposed, 12-35% develop PTSD with women twice as likely to be affected than men. Our goal is to discover underlying mechanisms to prevent PTSD, as we investigate the relevance of glutamic acid decarboxylase positive (GAD+) neurons on susceptible (SUS) and resilient (RES) male rats. SUS and RES phenotypes were assessed using the highly advanced RISP protocol to reveal susceptibility to a PTSD-like phenotype. The increase of GAD+ cells in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) informs us that more GABAergic neurons are present, which can cause inappropriate recall. We will be examining if there is a difference in the number of GAD+ cells in the RES versus SUS male rats. To investigate, we used cryosectioned brains from SUS or RES rats. The brains were stained using immunohistochemistry to isolate the GAD+ neurons in the mPFC and were counted. The results of this experiment will be determined and examined at a later date closer to our presentation. We expect to see a SUS male rats to have a higher number of GAD+ neurons.

Funding: Augusta University CURS Student Research Grant

P25 - Ecotoxicology of yellow-bellied sliders (TRACEMYS SCRIPTA) and musk turtles (STERNOTHERUS ODORATUS) in natural wetlands

ecotoxicology of yellow-bellied sliders (trachemys scripta) and musk turtles (sternotherus odoratus) in natural wetlands

Presenter: Rachel Hammesfahr
Authors: 
Rachel Hammesfahr and Robert Cromer
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Robert Cromer
Institution/College/Department:
  Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Glyphosate is one of the active ingredients in many different herbicidal products such as Roundup. Preliminary research has suggested that glyphosate is a possible endocrine disruptor, can cause developmental defects, and is a potential carcinogen. Due to its potential harmful effects on different organisms, we seek to monitor the levels of glyphosate in wetland areas. This will be done by analyzing samples from two commonly found indicator species, the yellow-bellied slider turtle, Trachemys scripta, and the musk turtle, Sternotherus odoratus. Research will be done on turtles caught at Reed Creek Nature Center and Brick Pond Park. Physical measurements will be taken, and blood will be drawn from each turtle. Analysis of the glyphosate levels in the blood samples will be completed using a glyphosate ELISA kit. While this research will not prove that glyphosate has harmful effects on the turtles, it will quantify the amount of the chemical present. If there are high concentrations, this will indicate a need for more research on how glyphosate affects different organisms so long-term effects on the environment can be estimated.

Funding: Augusta University CURS Student Research Grant

P26 - Evaluation of CANIS hair as a potential wild pig repellent on Cowden plantation, Jackson, SC

evaluation of canis hair as a potential wild pig repellent on cowden plantation, jackson, sc

Presenter: Samantha Rae Hitchens
Authors: 
Samantha Rae Hitchens1,2 and Bruce Saul1
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Bruce Saul
Institution/College/Department:
1Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2Hull College of Business (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa) continue to have a destructive impact across the world. The uncontrolled spread of these intrusive animals has affected many cultures, making it important to develop management methods across many locales. Wild pigs are often hunted with dogs; however, this method may not be suitable or legal in all areas impacted by this animal. In consideration of this fact, along with the knowledge that pigs have a highly developed sense of smell, led us to the hypothesis: Can a natural scent function as a satisfactory pig repellant? Based upon our past testing trials of potential scents in the Savannah River swamp near Jackson, SC, dog hair appeared to have a potential effect. We designed this experiment to attract wild pigs into an area baited with corn, and subsequently applied dog hair to the same area. Trail cameras were used at study locations to observe the normal patterns of wild pigs before and after dog hair applications. We analyzed our data by noting the presence and absence of pigs throughout our study trials. Image totals were also examined to determine if the dog hair dissuaded the pigs from entering the area. Our results supported our hypothesis.

 Funding: Augusta University CURS Student Research Grant
                 Department of Biological Sciences

P27 - Effects of vitamin D3 deficiency, vitamin D receptor knockout, and diabetes on corneal epithelial nerve density

effects of vitamin d3 deficiency, vitamin d receptor knockout, and diabetes on corneal epithelial nerve density

Presenter: Sarah Vick
Authors: 
Sarah Vick1, Xiaowen Lu2, and Mitchell Watsky2
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Xiaowen Lu, Dr. Mitchell Watsky
Institution/College/Department:  1
Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2Cellular Biology and Anatomy (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:

It is estimated that 41.6% of the US population suffers from vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D (VD) deficiency can be caused by a variety of sources and it is important to understand what measures this population might take to proactively prevent greater harm, or to reverse harm that might have already occurred. This project tested the general hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency exacerbates preexisting primary corneal pathologies. Previous research has established that corneal epithelium in diabetic mice heals at a faster rate than epithelium in diabetic vitamin D receptor (VDR) knockout (KO) mice. It is known that within diabetic mice, the corneal nerve density is decreased. However, it is unknown how VDR KO mice or vitamin D deficient with diabetes affect corneal nerve density. To identify variabilities within the nerves that indicate slow wound healing, the mouse corneas were collected, stained for confocal microscope observation, and analyzed through image processing to determine nerve density. The corneal nerve density was not affected by VDR KO alone, but significantly decreased when VDR KO and VD deficiency was combined with pre-existing diabetes.

Funding: NIH National Eye Institute Grant

P28 - The mechanism of inverse agonists on histamine receptors, histamine receptor H1, and histamine receptor H2

the mechanism of inverse agonists on histamine receptors, histamine receptor h1, and histamine receptor h2

Presenter: Shrey P. Patel
Authors:
Shrey P. Patel1 and Nevin Lambert2
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Nevin Lambert
Institution/College/Department:
1Psychological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2Pharmacology and Toxicology (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:

The experiment discusses the role of inverse agonist binding to receptors and how its effect cell signaling. The specific receptors that was focused on in the project was histamine receptor H1 (HRH1) and histamine receptor H2 (HRH2) which are types of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR). The main protein within the signaling pathway is the G-protein which effects the signaling to other molecules. G-proteins are activated through GTP. An inverse agonist works like an agonist but will have an opposite end effect within the cell. It was originally thought that inverse agonist works the same way as an agonist to recruit a GTP and activate a G-protein for signaling. The experiment being tests tries to explain the opposite that the inverse agonist could activate the protein without GTP and continue to have its effect on the cell. Human embryonic cells were transfected with plasmids that contain sequences for the receptors and the G-protein, which were also tagged with a fluorophore to measure any bioluminescence with interaction of G-protein and the receptor when the ligands binds. From collecting data from the bioluminescence effect, it shows that there is an interaction a receptor and G-protein complex when the inverse agonist is bound.

P29 - Small and dangerous: microrna-21 and blindness

small and dangerous: microrna-21 and blindness

Presenter: Shubhra Rajpurohit
Authors:
Subhra Rajpurohit, Menaka C. Thounaojam, Ravirajsinh Jadeja, Diana Gutsaeva, and Manuela Bartoli
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Manuela Bartoli, Menaka C. Thounaojam, Ravirajsinh Jadeja, Diana Gutsaeva
Institution/College/Department:
  Ophthalmology (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Retinal neovascularization (RNV) is a potentially blinding condition characterized by the development of small, leaky, abnormal, blood vessels in the retina. This occurs as a consequence of retinal ischemia, which promotes the release of angiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). MicroRNAs (miRs) are non-coding RNA involved in post-transcriptional regulation of genes resulting in the blockade of their expression. MiRs are key players in a wide range of biological processes, more specifically, microRNA-21 (miR-21) is upregulated in many pathological conditions including cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Previously, we have shown that microRNA-21 (miR-21) is a downstream effector of the transcription factor Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) in retinal endothelial microvascular cells. Here, we will identify new therapeutic targets as well as diagnostic tools to prevent retinal neovascularization and, potentially, other ocular diseases. One well-known retinal angiostatic factor is pigmented epithelium-derived factor (PEDF). Increased miR-21 expression in the ischemic retina affects PEDF “gene” expression. Interestingly, miR-21 is known to inhibit the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα). PPARα is a transcription factor for PEDF; therefore, increased miR-21 level in the ischemic retina could lead to inhibition of PPR alpha expression and consequent inhibition of PEDF expression.

Funding: National Institutes of Health

P30 - Structural and functional properties of adenylyl cyclase-associated protein 1/adenylyl cyclase complexes in pancreatic cancer cells

structural and functional properties of adenylyl cyclase-associated protein 1/adenylyl cyclase complexes in pancreatic cancer cells

Presenter: Simran Mehrotra
Authors:
Simran Mehrotra and Maria Sabbatini
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Maria Sabbatini
Institution/College/Department:
  Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Of all the different cancers, pancreatic cancer is one of the major unsolved health problems. It is important to study the mechanism through which the pancreatic cells migrate to prolong survival in patients. Concerning the progression of pancreatic cancer, the adenylyl cyclase (AC)/adenosine 3’,5’ cyclic monophosphate (cyclic AMP) pathway has shown to inhibit in the migration of pancreatic cancer cells.  Adenylyl cyclase- associated protein 1 (CAP1) is a protein that is involved in the regulation of actin microfilament formation, which ultimately leads to cell migration and invasion. The CAP 1 protein binds to G-actin, inhibiting polymerization which inhibits filopodia formation, inhibiting cell migration. In a previous research project in the lab it was found that CAP 1 reacts with different adenylyl cyclase (AC) isoforms: AC1, AC3, AC4 and AC7. behavior. The objective of this research was, through theoretical and experimental analyses, to determine to which extent CAP1 interacts with the 4 transmembrane AC isoforms mentioned above. Through a sequential co-immunoprecipitation approach, I determined which AC isoform experimentally has a higher affinity for CAP1 using the HPAC cell line, which is moderately differentiated. Based on the theoretical and experimental results, AC3 and AC4 have the highest affinity for CAP1.

P31 - The effects of circulating estrogen on SIRT1 levels in premenopausal women

the effects of circulating estrogen on sirt1 levels in premenopausal women

Presenter: Sinead O'Bryant
Authors:
Sinead O'Bryant1 and Ryan Harris2
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Ryan Harris
Institution/College/Department:
1Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.),
2Georgia Population Institute (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
According to epidemiological data, healthy premenopausal women exhibit greater protection from cardiovascular disease (CVD) when compared to men of a similar age.  It has been hypothesized that estrogen, one of the primary female sex hormones, is responsible for this protection. Previous studies have shown that the nicotinamide-adenine-dinucleotide-(NAD+)-dependent histone-deacetylase Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) provides protection from hyperglycemia, metabolic and endothelial dysfunction, all which contribute to CVD development.  The aim of this analysis was to show the potential relationship between circulating endogenous estrogen and SIRT1 in premenopausal women and its association with HbA1c, an indicator of glycemic state.  By utilizing the menstrual cycle, when estrogen is at its highest range during the follicular phase and at its lowest during meneses, the effects based on circulating estrogen on SIRT1 concentrations were evaluated in women by ELISA of participant blood plasma.  The results show SIRT1 and circulating estrogen have a significant positive correlation, and SIRT1 and HbA1c have a trending negative correlation. It was also seen that SIRT1 concentrations were found to be protected against high HbAlc levels when endogenous estrogen was high, providing evidence that circulating estrogen may act as a mediator of SIRT1, functioning as a protective mechanism from CVD in premenopausal women.

P32 - Aporosa octandra: study the protective effects of its bark extract against D-galactose induced cognitive impairment and oxidative stress in mice and its phytochemical investigation

aporosa octandra: study the protective effects of its bark extract against d-galactose induced cognitive impairment and oxidative stress in mice and its phytochemical investigation

Presenter: Sonya Schinder
Authors:
Sonya Schinder and Siva S. Panda
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Siva S. Panda
Institution/College/Department:
Chemistry and Physics (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Aging is a multifarious natural process, linked with several biochemical and morphological variations in the biological system. Aging not only challenges the increased vulnerability as well as homeostasis network to the cognition and locomotion but also to physical, mental or social activities. Medicinal plants have been used since ancient time to cure and prevent various diseases. Several natural compounds such as isoflavones, anthocyanins, and catechins isolated from plant sources act as a potent antioxidant against ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species). Antioxidants, especially natural antioxidants are recommended for the prevention of aging. In this study, we utilized an unexplored traditional medicinal plant Aporosa octandra (Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don) that belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae, sub-family Phyllanthaceae that is shrub to tree, up to 15 m high and comprises of 50 species, which are distributed throughout Asian regions. This plant is enlisted as a medicinal plant and is used for centuries in the Ayurvedic system. We investigated phytochemical contents of the plant and evaluated the biological activity.

P33 - Surveying mosses for fungicidal activity

surveying mosses for fungicidal activity

Presenter: Stephanie Yan
Authors:
Stephanie Yan, Amy Abdulovi-Cui, and Charlotte Christy
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Amy Abdulovi-Cui, Dr. Charlotte Christy
Institution/College/Department:
Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
The emergence of resistance to current fungicides is of serious concern because of the widespread diseases caused by fungi. One approach to this problem is to discover new compounds that have antifungal properties. Plants are extensively attacked by fungi and have evolved many defenses. These include fungicides and other defenses, such as a waxy cuticle, that make attack difficult. The mosses (Bryophyta) lack a cuticle. This makes them a likely group to survey for fungicidal activity because they may have additional chemical defenses. In this study, both aqueous and ethanolic extracts were made from crushed mosses and tested for their effect on growth of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  Mosses were collected across a broad geographical range (Georgia, Arkansas, and Alaska) to test the hypothesis that resistance to fungal attack may be higher in mosses adapted to warm and moist environments. Results include the demonstration of fungicidal activity in some, but not most, of the mosses. There was no correlation with geographical origin.  Both solvents seem able to extract compounds that will suppress yeast growth. In addition, we show that fungicidal properties may be lost during drying.  Several mosses showed strong enough antifungal activity that further investigation seems warranted.

Funding: Department of Biological Sciences

P34 - Development of transgenic zebrafish model for investigation of the function of microglia


development of transgenic zebrafish model for investigation of the function of microglia

Presenter: Suvarsha Sura
Authors:
Suvarsha Sura1 and Surendra K. Rajpurohit2,3
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Surendra K. Rajpurohit
Institution/College/Department:
1Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Augusta Univ.) 3 Georgia Cancer Center (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Zebrafish have emerged as a powerful model organism for elucidating the development and function of microglia. Generation of new transgenic reporter lines and imaging tools strengthen the zebrafish model in microglia study in-vivo. The aim is to develop a novel compound transgenic line to study the inflammatory process mediated by NF-kB in microglia cells. This novel compound transgenic line will establish a new model for microglia study. To generate the novel compound zebrafish transgenic model for microglia, we are crossbreeding microglia transgenic line zebrafish (Tg(mpeg1:mCherry) with the NF-kB Tg(6xNFkB:EGFP) transgenic progeny. We first generate a heterozygous F1 progeny which will be bred to generate an F2 homozygous progeny. Once the F1 progeny of the Microglia-NfkB transgenic line is developed, they will be crossbred to develop the Homozygous compound transgenic line. Fluorescent Microscopy will be used to screen the larvae generated from the breeding events. By developing the compound transgenic line, we are optimizing microglia isolation and sorting methodology by using the related antibodies as the marker. The NF-kB microglia transgenic line will provide a unique platform for drug screening to address microglial based ailments, thus furthering the understanding and treatment of human disease.

 Funding: Augusta University CURS Student Research Grant

P35 - An examination of moral panics: how the fear of satanism affected tabletop role playing

an examination of moral panics: how the fear of satanism affected tabletop role playing

Presenter: Travis Williams
Authors:
Travis Williams1, Edgar Johnson2, and Ruth McClelland-Nugent3
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Edgar Johnson, Dr. Ruth McClelland-Nugent
Institution/College/Department:
1Biological Sciences (Augusta Univ.), 2Communications (Augusta Univ.) 3History, Anthropology, & Philosophy (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Moral panics around youth entertainment have been an occurrence as long as culture has been established. As long as youth entertainment has values that can be seen as going against the established values of the preceding generation, a moral panic could take place. The purpose of this research was to analyze how moral panics centered on youth entertainment begin and gain traction. To do this, the research was focused on the 1980s moral panic around tabletop roleplaying games, specifically Dungeons & Dragons. By tracing the origin of the moral panic to the fear of cults and occult from the 1970s, we can find more context as to why some individuals believed that role playing games could cause adolescents to use the games as a style of dangerous escapism or as a gateway to the occult. To further understand this moral panic, an analysis of some of the major detractors of role playing games was done, as well as researching the role the media played in cultivating the moral panic. With a greater understanding on how moral panics begin and gain traction, this research can be used to compare and contrast other moral panics around youth entertainment.

P36 - Design and synthesis of hybrid conjugates as potential anti-infective agents

design and synthesis of hybrid conjugates as potential anti-infective agents

Presenter: William F. Littlefield, Margaret Wade, and Tina Makkanal
Authors:
William F. Littlefield1, Margaret Wade1, and Tina Makkanal1, and Siva S. Panda2
Faculty Sponsor(s)/Collaborator(s): Dr. Siva S. Panda
Institution/College/Department:
1Science and Mathematics (Augusta Univ.), 2Chemistry and Physics (Augusta Univ.)

Abstract:
Infectious diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms are major challenges despite all the steps taken to control or cure. New drug development with high efficacy/selectivity for infectious diseases is a point of interest for many researchers. It has reported that tuberculosis is one of the ten major causes of death in the world. Multi-drug resistance (MDR) is another major concern in bacterial and fungal infections. The present study deals with the development of new conjugates of pyrazinoic acid and isoniazid linked via an amino acid. The synthesized conjugates show promising and interesting results against a variety of microbial strains, tuberculous and non-tuberculous mycobacteria. Molecular modeling studies were used for understanding and validation of the experimental data.

 Funding: Augusta University Scholarly Activity Award