Each semester, the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUR) hosts an Undergraduate Research Symposium. In Spring 2020, CUR held this symposium in a virtual format for the first time. Due to the success of that symposium, CUR decided to host the 2020 Virtual Fall Undergraduate Research Symposium.
To determine how language influences our ability to categorize spatial directions, scenic images selected from the SUN database (Xiao et al., 2010) were shown along with checkboxes for seven presented spatial categories. To see how a drawn pathway on an image relates to a spatial category, we selected 500 images from the SUN database and presented one of five lists with 100 images each to the participant, and then had the participants draw the correct pathway on the images. This task was modeled after a similar task in assessing spatial directions in visual scenes (Bonner & Epstein, 2017). In the behavioral data, we hypothesize that a seven-channel distribution will provide the best fit to the data (Klippel & Montello, 2007), and it will¬† have the highest correlation with the categorical data. To test this, we will correlate the vectors for each image, which will be created by tallying the spatial directions in the categorical task and by calculating the weights to the basis functions in the path drawing task to create representational dissimilarity matrices (RDM); within-task and across tasks. Next, we will correlate these sets of RDMs to determine the extent to which the spatial directions calculated with both methods are consistent.
The IncuGator is a microbioreactor capable of individually monitoring and cultivating independent test specimens in a well plate or test tube. Our design is split into 7 subsystems. Those subsystems include gas controller, frame/body, dispensing motion, liquid handling and storage, incubated flask and dish storage, shutoff sensors/alert system/monitor/interface, and heating/cooling system. Our unifying ‚Äúhedgehog‚Äù concept is to make our system the easiest to assemble due to its low number of parts, thereby making it the most accessible option to the mainstream market. The current phase of the design process is to determine 12 diverse and technically feasible designs per subassembly mentioned. These designs will be carried forward and evaluated in the ensuing selection process, with the goal of arriving at a feasible full system concept. At this point in the design process, the primary functions will be to dispense liquid and gas in both well plates and test tubes, simultaneously monitor various measurements within those specimen environments, and ensure proper mixing and maintenance of each environment.
TWIST1 protein is primarily known for the regulation of transcription during embryogenesis. However, recent studies have illustrated its potential as an oncogene through its role in the initiation and progression of various cancers, primarily in cell proliferation. The Bhaduri lab recently identified TWIST1 as a novel replisome-associated protein in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed B lymphocytes and Burkitt lymphoma-derived cells. My experiments reveal that TWIST1 is expressed highly in the S- and G2-phases of the cell cycle and when knocked down, results in a stalling in G1 and S phases as well as cell death. These results suggest that TWIST1 functions at the DNA replication fork and contributes to initiation and progress of cell division in EBV-transformed cells.
Mitragyna speciosa¬†(kratom) has been used for centuries in Southeast Asia and has recently gained worldwide attention due to its opioid pharmacology. Here we focused on corynantheidine, a minor alkaloid of kratom. The affinity of corynantheidine at the human ¬µ-opioid receptor (MOR, Ki=118 nM) was 28-fold lower than that for morphine. Cumulative i.v. injections of corynantheidine (1.0-32 mg/kg, i.v.) or morphine (1.0-10 mg/kg, i.v.) produced robust antinociceptive effects (ED50 values: 17.9 and 4.8 mg/kg) in a hotplate assay at 52¬∞C; the major kratom alkaloid mitragynine (3.2-17.8 mg/kg, i.v.) was inactive. In rats discriminating morphine (3.2 mg/kg, i.p.) from its vehicle, corynantheidine (5.6-56 mg/kg, i.p., 15 minutes prior to session) produced up to 25% morphine-like discriminative-stimulus effects; 56 mg/kg markedly decreased the rates of responding. In the rats discriminating morphine, no dose of corynantheidine was active in the hotplate assay.¬†¬†When pretreated, corynantheidine (17.8 mg/kg, i.p.) decreased the discriminative-stimulus effects of morphine (3.2 mg/kg) by 47%.¬†¬†However, naltrexone (0.032 mg/kg, i.p., 30 minutes prior to session) fully blocked the discriminative-stimulus effects of morphine.¬†¬†Thus, the present result suggests corynantheidine as a MOR antagonist. Supported by UG3 DA048353 and R01 DA25267.
Interpretation of Nd isotopes (ŒµNd) as a geochemical tracer for ocean circulation in the North Atlantic requires knowledge of endmember compositions of potential source waters. In records of past rapid warming events seawater ŒµNd values derived from marine archives in the NW Atlantic are less radiogenic than modern North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW), indicating a change in circulation or in the isotopic value of northern sourced deep water during intervals of warming and ice sheet retreat. This suggests inputs to the North Atlantic lowered the ŒµNd composition of northern sourced deep waters. We compare Nd isotopes from stream water and bedload sediment across a transect from the ice sheet to the coast in southwestern Greenland, a region underlain by relatively uniform geology. Solute chemistry in these watersheds, as well as a decrease in the offset between dissolved and bedload 87Sr/86Sr values, documents an increased extent of chemical weathering toward the coast, likely due to longer exposure ages and higher precipitation. Nd isotopes produce a similar but inverted pattern of decreasing offset toward the coast. These data indicate that preferential weathering of low Sm/Nd accessory minerals exposed during ice retreat can produce much lower weathered ŒµNd values than bulk rock values.
Cerebral vasospasm is the narrowing of cerebral arteries that often occurs in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH.) Cerebral vasospasm is a significant cause of death and disability following an aSAH.¬†The purpose of this study was to assess whether patients who were treated with surgical clipping or endovascular coiling of a ruptured aneurysm displayed different incidences of vasospasm. The subjects were 344 patients with ruptured aneurysms who were admitted to a single tertiary center between 2012 and 2019. Among the 344 subjects, 76% of patients were treated using clipping and 24% were treated using coiling. No significant difference in vasospasm occurrence was observed in regard to treatment method. However, of the 344 patients 82% of patients from 2012-2015 and 96% of patients from 2016-2019 presented with saccular aneurysms. Overall, these findings indicate that aneurysm shape is a significant predictor of cerebral vasospasm in patients with aSAH.
Science teachers play a critical role in both student learning and STEM engagement. Professional development opportunities for these teachers can help to improve their ability to fill this role. Our knowledge is lacking, however, regarding the extent to which STEM-related professional development helps to improve science teacher‚Äôs knowledge of current STEM careers and curriculum design. We selected high school science teachers from across the state to attend a two-week emerging pathogens workshop at the University of Florida. Our program helps teachers to enhance their knowledge of different topics related to STEM education by facilitating connections with university researchers. We asked the participants to fill out a survey before and after the workshop detailing their knowledge level regarding general STEM careers, emerging pathogens-related careers, and curriculum design. Using paired t-tests performed in SPSS, our data analysis across three workshops shows that teachers tended to feel more knowledgeable in all three areas after participating in the workshop, especially within the area of emerging pathogens-related career knowledge. Future research will examine potential¬†connections between these results and the demographics of the participating teachers.
There is a positive association between discrimination and drug use among African American adolescents. One way that discrimination might indirectly increase drug use is by increasing psychological stress. The current study sought to test if perceived psychological stress mediates the association between discrimination and poly-drug use among African American Adolescents (N = 418, ages 11-17). Furthermore, the current study sought to determine if age moderates the indirect effect of discrimination on poly-drug use. The results of the study showed that discrimination has a positive direct effect on poly-drug use that is only partially mediated by perceived stress. Notably, the indirect effect of discrimination on poly-drug use was only present among older adolescents (ages 14-17). These results suggest that the pathways between discrimination and poly-drug use may be age dependent. Future research among adolescents that explores the association between discrimination and poly-drug use should account for the moderating effect of age.
Human head lice are parasites that cannot survive more than 24 hours without its human host. This makes them a unique marker for studying human evolution and migration. By studying their evolutionary history, human louse can help us support current human evolution models or discover new insights. Genetic data of lice was collected worldwide, specifically mitochondrial genes cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) and cytochrome b (CYTB). In total, 1030 CYTB samples of 266 bp were collected, which encapsulates all publicly available samples. For COI, 244 samples of 446 bp were retrieved, providing the largest possible fragments. Unique sequences were identified with each dataset, which resulted with 45 samples for COI and 104 sample for CYTB. The next step was building a phylogenetic tree from the dataset with one chimp louse sequence as an outgroup. The results show CYTB displaying six clades and COI displaying three clades. Node ages show these clades diverging >200,000 years ago, which was earlier than when modern humans arose in Africa. This suggests that lice found on humans arose on another hominin and transferred to modern humans in the past.
Bacterial AutoreactorPeter Buckoski, Cristian Garcia, Andres Orta, Uriel Ostrowicz, Griffin Schobel, Elizabeth Scott, Andrew Tumlin¬†The Bacterial Autoreactor was designed for the proposed University of Florida Biofoundry with the objective of creating an autonomous microbioreactor for the purpose of culturing microorganisms for scientific research. The Bacterial Autoreactor in particular will be a product that is able to culture multiple biological samples simultaneously in a fully autonomous fashion, providing a hands-off experience for the user. In order to fully carry out the customer‚Äôs needs, the design was divided into six essential subsystems: liquid handling, environmental control, mobility/shaking, user interface, overall housing, and the feedback control subsystem. Current microbioreactors require frequent human intervention to produce adequate amounts of microbial culture. The subsystems for the Bacterial Autoreactor come together and harmoniously synergize to not only create a functional product, but a product that transcends current technology to autonomously monitor and culture multiple microbial samples with independent growing conditions in a way that involves negligible user interaction.
The Everyday Discrimination Scale (EDS) is a validated measure of day-to-day discrimination among adults (Williams et al., 1997). However, the EDS has not yet been validated among adolescents. The current study sought to determine if the EDS demonstrated measurement invariance across demographic groups within an adolescent population (N = 1,261). Measurement invariance was compared across the three categories of ethnicity (black, white), age (11-13, 14-15, 16-17), and sex (male, female). This study found that the EDS was metric invariant across ethnicity and sex. Moreover, the EDS demonstrated strict invariance across age groups. These results suggest that EDS factor loadings are comparable across ethnicity and sex, but that EDS item means and variances differ between ethnic groups and between men and women. In contrast, factor loadings, EDS item means, and item variances were comparable across age groups. Together, these results suggest that researchers can use the EDS irrespective of adolescent age (11-17) but should consider the demographic characteristics of ethnicity and sex when using the EDS in adolescent populations.
Emerging pathogens pose critical environmental concerns threatening sustainability. Teachers are at the frontline of educating students in order to increase involvement in the life sciences. UF CPET created a professional development workshop for high school teachers to help in strengthening proper teaching methods. Teachers came from all around Florida with a variety of educational backgrounds and courses. The workshop evaluation consisted of pre and post measures designed to assess interpretations and understandings of emerging pathogens across high school courses. In order to understand the breadth and depth of content knowledge and attitudes, teachers created personal meaning maps. Constant comparative analysis proved beneficial to uncover shared ideas across meaning maps. Cross referencing with an external ontology, the National Cancer Institute Thesaurus, allowed for clear definition of codes and themes. The data shows increase in breadth and depth of content knowledge. Common themes included: 1) the practices and procedures used for the prevention and treatment of disease 2) systematic investigation into a subject, both topics discussed extensively in the workshop. Further analysis could examine differences in teacher background knowledge based on demographic variables.
As technology becomes increasingly automated, relationships between users and robots are evolving. While these advancements are intended to simplify user experience, they are constantly redefining the responsibilities of users. Learning to recognize new responsibilities and adjusting interaction accordingly is a challenge that is especially difficult for much of the general public who may be unfamiliar with using these systems. Public knowledge about these automated systems is central to the success and safety of integrating autonomous technology into society. The objective of this work is to explore human-robot systems and examine user experiences and mental models to gain insights into how people learn to work with autonomous technology. Online reviews of autonomous robot vacuums have been collected from multiple retailers from a range of different price levels to analyze user relationships with the machines. This poster will highlight the current progress towards assessing those interactions and the approaches taken toward evaluating user experiences. The results of this work will expand our understanding of human-robot team systems and its scope may be extended beyond robot vacuums towards other autonomous relationships to increase the efficiency and safety of integrating automation into the lives of the general public.
Instability of repetitive DNA sequences result in more than 40 hereditary neurological diseases, including the progressive multisystemic disorder myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). DM1 is caused by CTG repeat expansions (CTGexp) in the DMPK gene that are transcribed into CUGexp RNAs which inhibit the RNA splicing functions of MBNL proteins during development. DM1 disease symptoms, which worsen with age, range in severity from sleeping disturbances, muscle weakness and wasting to respiratory insufficiency, irregular heartbeat, and premature death. Our goal was to generate and assess novel mouse DM1 models in order to further investigate the pathogenesis of this disorder. Multiple Dmpk CTGexp mouse lines were generated, including one line with 480 CTG repeats. Unexpectedly, we discovered that the choroid plexus (ChP), the brain tissue responsible for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) production, is particularly sensitive to Dmpk CTGexp mutations and MBNL inhibition. Many splicing changes characterized in DM1 patient muscle samples were also aberrantly affected in the ChP. Importantly, our studies provide novel mouse models that not only further our understanding of DM1 pathomechanisms but also introduce in vivo testing platforms for the development of drugs designed to deliver safe and effective treatments for DM1 patients.
Drying is one of the oldest methods to preserve meat. It‚Äôs a valuable product in the United States and an important shelf-stable protein source in many developing nations. When food is limited, consumers are particularly vulnerable to food borne hazards. Drying is dependent on equipment working over a period of hours. Mechanical failure or loss of power likely reduces the lethality of the thermal process. The purpose of this study is to investigate lethality of Salmonella on reconstructed beef jerky during the drying process to provide information for jerky makers to assess the risk associated with a disruption in the dehydrating process. Twenty-gram strips were made from an eye of round and seasoned with a commercial jerky seasoning and inoculated at 8 CFU/g with five stereotypes of Salmonella enterica and acid adapted Salmonella enterica. Strips were then placed in the dehydrator (temp±error) and extracted at 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4 and 6h, serial diluted, and plated. We observed a¬†linear decline of about 1.12 log CFU/hour for the acid adapted and 0.99 log CFU/hour for the non-acid adapted. Based on this information, processors could identify appropriate risk mitigation strategies should they experience a disruption in the jerky-making process.
An increasing body of research has supported the key role of frequent fire in longleaf pine ecosystems. Grass species such as Sorghastrum secundum (lopsided Indiangrass) are promoted by frequent fires, but it is unclear which season of burn results in the greatest reproductive fitness. To determine the optimal burn season for flower and seed production, we established nine plots in three burn units at Ordway-Swisher Biological Station that were burned during January, March, or June of 2019. We determined the proportion of plants flowering, the number of flowering culms per plant, and germination probability. We found that approximately 60% of S. secundum individuals flowered after January and March burns. No plants were located in the June burn unit. No seeds germinated from an initial germination trial or debearding treatment, so Tetrazolium (TZ) was used to test seed viability. The TZ test showed a number of viable seeds, but displayed no statistical differences in germination between January and March burns. These results indicate that there is no significant difference between reproductive output following January or March burns. At a community level, it is likely that different species will vary in the optimal fire season that most increases their reproductive fitness.
Oxidative stress by reactive oxygen species (ROS) commonly contributes to cellular damage, and methionine is particularly susceptible to oxidation by ROS (Zhang and Weissbach, 2008). Through this, methionine is oxidized into methionine sulfoxide. Methionine sulfoxide reductase (Msr) enzymes are present in all domains of life, and they function to counter the oxidative damage to methionine, while avoiding the costly processes of protein degradation and synthesis (Zhang and Weissbach, 2008). Recent work using the model archaeon Haloferax volcanii reveals a novel type of methionine sulfoxide reductase that uses a molybdopterin cofactor for its activity: MsrM (Adams and Maupin-Furlow, unpublished). Here, molecular cloning techniques are utilized to further analyze MsrM homologs in distantly related organisms, including a gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis, and two hyperthermophilic archaea of genera Ferroglobus and Pyrobaculum. Additionally, bioinformatic tools are employed to synthesize three-dimensional models of known Msr homologs in order to perform active site pocket analysis for an in-depth structural comparison.
We are designing a semi-autonomous microbioreactor, allowing for the automated production and monitoring of microbial cultures in a controlled environment. The device will be able to fit on a research facility benchtop and meet all requirements to work in a lab space that studies moderate-risk infectious agents or moderately dangerous toxins. The device will be able to accommodate various sizes of culture plates and conical tubes and feature a liquid handling system capable of adding media to and removing media from the vessels. The culture environment will be controlled for temperature (4-70¬∞C), gas concentration (of Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Hydrogen), several minutes of high intensity light for photobioreactor capability, and shaking pattern (linear, orbital, and double orbital options). The device will measure and display optical density and fluorescence intensity of the culture, allowing for live monitoring of culture condition. If a conflict between functionality and constraints arises during the design process, functionality will be favored. While low cost and low power consumption will be considered desirable in the design process, if we find one or both of them incompatible with functionality we will opt for functionality.
Within the biological field and commercial market, a race is ensuing towards an all-in-one solution to seamlessly integrate traditional cell culturing processes, such as fluid addition and subtraction, plate shaking, environmental control, and spectroscopic monitorization, into one lab-adaptive device. PETRI (Precision Environmental Thermal Regulating Incubator) Complete Microbioreactor is a unique solution to autonomously perform and optimize such tasks by eliminating the need for intermediate human intervention. Where intervention is required, PETRI stands out amongst competitors by enhancing the user experience, regardless of proficiency, through its attractive user-interface and featured quick-exchange modular tool head system. Any novice can perform basic culturing operations offered such as plate shaking and environmental regulation, and with the system‚Äôs default tool heads, fluid handling and optical measurement operations are also possible. For advanced researchers in the field, these processes can be expounded upon further by the device‚Äôs flexibility to accept newly designed compatible tool heads to perform additional functions or measurements as desired. All the while, real-time user reports and on-board safety mechanisms provide both unwavering operator and cell safety. With PETRI, rapid user-friendly cell culturing is realized and equipped with versatility to adapt with the ever-advancing field and practices discovered within.
Many diseases, including cancer, can be characterized or targeted by the metabolic pathways they use. Thus, an important avenue in systems biology is understanding the metabolic pathways used in different tissues and how these change during disease. This project seeks to analyze heterogeneities in the metabolic makeup of various regions of the fetal human heart. We accomplish this by applying a biological network inference program, mCADRE, to a single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) dataset of fetal human heart samples. mCADRE was chosen for this study because of its success in modelling other tissues, such as the cancerous prostate, and the close correspondence of its predictions to known phenotypes. The study plans to create network models of the sample heart regions, such as the right atrium or the epicardium, by applying the fetal scRNA-Seq data to the mCADRE program. Then, we plan to identify genes whose expression differs across distinct heart regions in order to characterize the unique metabolics of each region. Subsequent in silico gene knock-out experiments can inform us about the effects of mutations. These findings may contribute to a better mechanistic understanding of harmful fetal heart defects.
The autonomous microbioreactor is a biomedical device that combines the intersection of dynamic, fluidic and mechanical design to create a customizable culturing environment. The microbioreactor is a fully enclosed environment with a user-friendly interface. The fluidic mixing and handling system allows for user-defined aliquots of any chemical or biological composition. A robotic arm and dynamic track allow for programmable, three-dimensional movement throughout the system. These dynamic systems provide the user with the ability to move a specimen into a self-contained incubator. The incubators and enclosed culturing environment used closed loop controls to control gas content, temperature and light conditions. At any time, the specimen can be removed from their incubators and have their condition assessed. Monitoring systems complement the fail-safe system when conditions or functioning become unsafe. The system is able to send an alert of changes in the system to those in the lab. The system is also able to stop function if the nozzles become clogged, an improper test conditions arise or something in the system is assembled improperly. The device‚Äôs materials and components are carefully selected to ensure a 10-year service life and a cost of under $10,000.
Fire is one of the oldest tools used by humans to manage forests and vegetation. It serves as a catalyst for many biological functions, such as flower and seed production and dispersal. Prescribed fires are now lit by humans throughout the year to sustain and restore ecosystem structure and function, however, it is unknown if burning during different times of the year has different benefits for reproduction of flowering plants. In this study, we examined flower production, proportion of reproductive individuals, and seed viability of Liatris tenuifolia (blazing star) following burns performed during January, March, or June. We found that a higher proportion of plants produced flowers after March and June burns. There were significantly more flowering culms per plant after January and March burns. Burn timing had no significant effect on probability of L. tenuifolia germinating. We conclude that burning during March has the greatest positive effect on fecundity of L. tenuifolia. Our results demonstrate that time of year influences the fecundity of some flowering plants, potentially influencing population-level fitness. This study adds to our knowledge of southeastern United States flora and informs land management techniques, particularly when the goal of burning is to increase flower and seed production.
There are no evidence-based resources guiding the perioperative management of Moyamoya patients undergoing surgical revascularization. We investigated practice patterns among a transdisciplinary group to identify key care components warranting prospective studies. Methods: We administered an international, web-based survey regarding demographics and pre-, intra-, and post-operative care across several specialties. Results: Analysis of 207 responses from 15 countries (87.4% US) captured input from overlapping disciplines [anesthesiology (27.9%), critical care medicine (24.5%), neurology (27.0%), neurosurgery (12.7%)], experienced providers (59.5% > 5 years beyond training) in academic centers (84.4%). Arterial line for continuous systolic blood pressure (SBP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) recording is the most used perioperative monitoring method. Pressure transducer level varies significantly: phlebostatic axis/right atrium is most used in pre- (46.8%) and post-operative (51.3%) phases, whereas circle of Willis/tragus is most utilized intra-operatively (59.0%). MAP is preferred intra-operatively (48.74%). SBP is preferred post-operatively (50.43%). Neurosurgeon preference dictates perioperative hemodynamic goals. Median minimum and maximum intra- and post-operative SBP and MAP goals were 105-145 mmHg and 70-100 mmHg, respectively. Hemodynamic goals were achieved by crystalloid infusion (90.7%), norepinephrine (68.0%) and phenylephrine (62.9%); however, 16.96% of respondents considered these vasopressors contraindicated. Conclusion: Our results illustrate heterogeneity of Moyamoya perioperative practices among¬†different stakeholders.
Plasmonics is a rapidly developing field on the boundary of optical and condensed matter physics. The creation of plasmonic devices is advantageous to society because they can transmit information at faster speeds compared to current electronic and photonic counterparts. Further, a plasmonic electro-optic modulator can be fabricated on a nano-size scale. Therefore, plasmonic innovations offer subwavelength devices with improved performance with respect to size and power consumption. In a hypothesized plasmonic modulator design, surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs), which are longitudinal electromagnetic waves that couple to a metal-dielectric interface, are generated by light incident on an annular array aperture. Perovskite ferroelectric materials such as Lanthanum Nickelate and Barium Titanate are thoughtfully chosen to construct the metal-dielectric interface due to their high dielectric constant and electric tunability. The waveguide design is achieved by using a focused ion beam to etch grating patterns onto the nano-scale device to serve as a mechanism to couple light.The research findings, by means of preliminary device construction and numerical simulations, assert the previously mentioned advantages of high speed and high integration density that plasmonic devices exhibit. This revolutionary optical phenomenon will trailblaze technologies and innovations for years to come.
This study explored the mechanism underlying the association between loneliness and perceived stress within an adolescent population (ages 11-17). Using data from the Adolescent Health and Development in Context (AHDC) study (N = 1,204), hierarchical linear regressions determined if the association between loneliness and perceived stress is mediated by depression. A bootstrap procedure was used to determine if the indirect effect of loneliness on perceived stress was moderated by family or friend support. The results showed that depression largely mediated the positive association between loneliness and perceived stress. Furthermore, family support and friend support moderated the indirect effect of loneliness on perceived stress. These results support a conditional mediation model in which the indirect effect of loneliness on perceived stress is larger at higher levels of support. The results suggest that the way loneliness increases perceived stress is different at high and low levels of social support.
Languages are changing at a rapid rate and in an ever-evolving world, populations continue to interact, migrate, and conquer one another, allowing for the continuous merging and spreading of sounds across spaces. We must ask whether linguistic sound systems could also be affected by climatic, areal, or population factors. Do such factors suppress or encourage the development of a richer phonemic inventory? Our goal is to explore how such factors impact linguistic diversity and point to a probable origin of all human language.Our team is using a data-driven approach to create a mixed-effect model of what factors most prominently affect linguistic growth, evolution, and decay. By recreating models in previous papers, we will answer what pushes a language to change. Evaluating 400+ populations across 6 continents, we examine temperature, humidity, and altitude variations across geographic spaces, and inherent linguistic differences emerging from the serial founder effect. By the end of our study, we should be able to identify the trajectory on which a language should travel given patterns of previous factors that have influenced its growth and past stagnation.
Of the 65 million people with epilepsy, more than a third do not respond adequately to medical treatments. Alternate treatments consisting of high fat, low carbohydrate diets have shown to be successful in managing epilepsy through entering a state of nutritional ketosis. Precision Ketogenic Therapy embraces this approach by catering to the highly dynamic nutritional and health needs of medically complex patients through the development and administration of individual diet prescriptions and recipe books. The majority of PKT recipe creation relies on animal-based products to fulfill nutritional requirements, which can exclude patients who are interested in following lacto-ovo vegetarian diets that exclude meat, fish, and poultry. Lacto-ovo Vegetarian Precision Ketogenic Therapy, or LOVPKT, attempts to address this gap by creating new recipes that fulfill the criteria of lacto-ovo vegetarian diets while remaining an effective nutritional therapy for refractory epilepsy.¬†To create LOVPKT recipes, the researcher assessed and compiled lists of plant-based food products that would be appropriate for use in palatable, accessible meals and snacks. Data collection runs were performed to obtain information about the food products from their nutrition facts labels. Collected data was then entered and audited in the Nutrition Facts Database that houses all relevant nutritional information for foods used in PKT. 150 new LOVPKT recipes were created and integrated into the diets of patients in the Precision Ketogenic Therapy Program through the UF Health Division of Pediatric Neurology.¬†These LOVPKT recipes can increase¬†patients‚Äô involvement and compliance with their diet therapies, while making PKT a more environmentally friendly and overall healthful nutritional therapy.
The larvae of mantidflies (family Mantispidae) are spider-egg predators. Upon hatching, mantidfly larvae locate and enter spider egg sacs and remain within the same egg sac throughout development. After consuming enough spider eggs, mantidflies emerge from the egg sacs as adults. Adult mantidflies of both sexes are extremely variable in size, and size likely depends on the amount of food (spider eggs) available to the larvae during development. Size variation may be important in the context of mating, as mantidflies of both sexes are aggressive during mating encounters and sometimes cannibalize their mates. Using over 100 field-collected adult mantidfly specimens from the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, we quantified this extreme size variation and compared it across three populations. Mantidflies from all three populations were highly variable in size. Mantidflies collected from Stephen Foster State Park (GA) were smaller overall compared to those from Archbold Biological Station (FL) or Lake Corpus Christi State Park (TX). There was no significant size difference between the sexes within each population, but when these data were pooled, females were significantly larger than males. Our findings provide a baseline for future studies investigating the factors that affect extreme size variation. These factors may include abiotic conditions during development (i.e., temperature, humidity, precipitation), spider egg sac size (the amount of food available to a mantispid larva), and the diversity of spider communities. Understanding what affects adult mantidfly size may provide insight into the dynamics of mating success and cannibalism in this understudied group.
In the nineteenth century, exiles from Cuba established a community for themselves in Tampa, Florida. In spite of the racist trends of the Jim Crow south and of colonial Cuba, this community was racially integrated. White and Black Cubans lived and worked side-by-side in Ybor city. Cigar makers were paid the same wage regardless of race. Revolutionary clubs such as Liceo Cubano represented a coalition of Cubans of all colors. Cuban exile communities like the one in Tampa served as the basis of Jos√© Mart√≠‚Äôs vision for an independent and anti-racist Cuba. Unfortunately, Mart√≠‚Äôs vision for Cuba was frustrated by the American intervention in 1898, and, in Tampa, racial divisions formed and deepened. My thesis attempts to find out how the Cubans in Tampa situated themselves within the trans-Atlantic Cuban nation, how they reacted and responded to political events taking place in the homeland, and how events in Cuba affected the cross-racial unity of Cuban Tampa.
Germany is widely considered one of the world‚Äôs pioneers in establishing a renewable energy economy. The term ‚ÄúEnergiewende‚Äù was coined to describe the planned transition of Germany‚Äôs energy economy from one that is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, to one that may serve as a sustainable model for the world. In 2019, renewables accounted for approximately 42.2% of the total electricity production, as compared to 3.1% in 1991. However, this progress was not made without facing significant challenges, such as limiting costs passed to consumers, facing public opposition to overhead high-power lines, and integrating more sustainable heating systems. Nevertheless, many opportunities for overcoming these challenges lie ahead. Underground grid expansion coupled with decentralized power expansion, grid digitization, and improving the efficiency of current infrastructure are promising technical solutions that may lead the Energiewende to fruition. The German experience has taught the world about the importance of interconnectedness between all stakeholders, including energy producers, grid operators, and end consumers. They‚Äôve displayed how it is essential to expand infrastructure alongside renewable energy production so that one does not outrun the other. These lessons can be utilized as energy transitions begin to make headway around the world.
This research an investigation into the search for axion-like particles (ALP) in Higgs Boson decays.¬†We analyze the Higgs Boson decay to a Z Boson and ALP that decays into 2 leptons and 2 photons and assess the sensitivity of such a search. This research includes becoming involved in the data selection process where selection requirements are applied to the data, validating data in comparison to Monte Carlo simulations in control regions to ensure the backgrounds are understood, and studying possible systematic uncertainties that can affect the search. Additionally, how the search results are interpreted as limits on cross sections and theory parameters will be investigated. This research will cover finding invariant mass plots of the decay products, plotting the angles between the diphotons and dileptons, transforming the momentum in the lab frame of the ALP and Z boson into to the center of mass frame, finding the polar angle of the photons in the rest frame of the ALP, and finding a background (jets) to use for comparison to the signal. This analysis uses proton-proton collision data from the CMS detectors of CERN‚Äôs Large Hadron Collider to search for the decays. This presentation explains my proposed research and what it entails, as it is still in progress.
In this research project, our team seeks to supply the UF Biofoundry with a semi-autonomous microbioreactor which can cross-examine cellular properties in larger volumes than those commercially available. As specified by the customer, the proposed system will execute two key functions: the culturing of microbes in fully enclosed receptacles and the measurement of optical density and fluorescent intensity data for interpretation of culture condition by the operator. Our design will strive to be the most efficient and user-friendly microbioreactor among all of those submitted for proposal. This simple concept profoundly impacts every subsystem in our design including liquid handling, incubation, vibration, temperature/atmospheric monitoring, and user interface. With a logically designed interface requiring minimal input, the user will be able to control the culture within a temperature range from 4¬∞C to 70¬∞C, a dispensing volume range from 5¬µL to 20,000¬µL, and adjust the number and size of well tubes. Overall, our team‚Äôs microbioreactor concept serves to improve the UF Biofoundry‚Äôs laboratory resources across campus which in turn provides a new opportunity to students looking to further expand their experience in this field.
Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the US, and individuals over the age of 65 are the fastest growing demographic of users. As this population grows, it is imperative to understand the potential cognitive impacts of cannabis consumption. Acute administration of THC in young subjects has been shown to impair cognitive function supported by the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the hippocampus; however, effects in aged subjects have been less well evaluated. The current study assessed the performance of male, young (6 months) and aged (24 months) Fischer 344 x Brown Norway F1 hybrid rats on both a PFC-dependent delayed response task and a hippocampal-dependent (TUNL) task in touchscreen chambers. The DR task required rats to remember the location of a visual stimulus over variable delay periods (0-24 s). The TUNL task required rats to remember the location of a visual stimulus with varying degrees of discriminability from distractor stimuli. A semi-randomized, within-subjects experimental design was used such that each rat was exposed to smoke from burning 0, 3, 5, and 10 cigarettes prior to test sessions. The results suggest that in aged rats, cannabis smoke can enhance PFC-dependent cognition, but has no effect on hippocampus-dependent cognition.
While image analysis is useful in quantifying data, large data sets or lengthy analysis procedures can be exceptionally time consuming. ImageJ macro script is a user-friendly option that can streamline this process. Here, we aim to determine an efficient method to measure localization and content changes of nuclei and proteins of interest. To achieve this, ImageJ macros were used to determine counts, area, and intensity values. Fibroblasts were cultured for 30 passages on tissue culture plastic. Every 5 passages, a portion of the cells were stained for nuclei and the protein of interest. A macro script in ImageJ was developed to threshold DAPI images to acquire nuclear and area. The protein images were also thresholded and quantified with the histogram list. The image calculator was used on these masks to quantify both where do and do not overlap. The ROI manager was utilized to integrate intensity of the protein, which was then normalized with background selections. The developed macro script was able to quantify nuclear count, area, and relative intensity values efficiently that correlated well with visual assessment. This proved a useful method to analyze large volumes of images while maintaining consistency.
While the lighter elements (Z<30) are known to be forged during the lifetime of stars, the elements heavier than strontium are thought to be formed by events following their deaths. Metal-poor stars enhanced with the rapid-neutron-capture (or r-) process provide the perfect opportunity to constrain the astrophysical site of the r-process. We present a detailed abundance analysis of a metal-poor r-process enhanced star, 2MASS J00101758-1735387, with [Fe/H]= -2.4 dex. We detect Thorium from which we estimate a preliminary age of 12.5 Gyrs, from [Th/Eu]= -0.507 using nucleo-cosmo chronometry. Early analysis of this halo star‚Äôs chemical abundances shows that the traces of its Œ±-elements are systematically lower than what would be expected of stars in the Milky Way Halo. Its [Mg/Eu] ratio, is however consistent with the Ultra Faint Dwarf Galaxy Reticulum II, which is an old and less chemically evolved system than the Milky Way. Further comparisons to other UFDs can help elucidate into the accretion origin of J0010-1735. Moreover, aging J0010-1735 itself allows us to age the system in which it was born, which may present a unique opportunity to place a preliminary age for the oldest galaxies in the universe.
High school teachers face challenges when implementing practice-based and contextualized contemporary agriscience lessons. While best practices to address barriers exist, little research examines how well professional development equips teachers to implement authentic science lessons, or how teachers should adjust their lesson plans during a pandemic. Workshops included content on university invasive species ecology research and time for teachers to revise existing lessons; education and agriscience researchers collaborated with teachers to include contemporary science practices and local context. We interviewed teachers in the school years following the workshops, usually after they had implemented their revised lessons. Following the 2019 workshop, we interviewed multiple teachers who had to redesign lessons in the middle of the year to move to distance learning as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic. Teachers spoke of reduced barriers following the workshop as well as skills and experiences gained that led to easier transition to distance learning. All teachers reported the value of collaborating with colleagues and professional respect. We suggest continued research investigating barriers to implementation while adapting professional teacher development courses to center collaboration.
Parkinsons Disease is characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and is accompanied by many phenotypic abnormalities including bradykinesia, resting tremor, and instability upon standing and walking. Non-motor symptoms are also common including a deficit in intellectual functioning, sleeping disturbances, pain, and cognitive impairment. It took decades from the first documentation of this neurodegenerative disorder to the development of a possible treatment. The most well-versed treatment to alleviate these symptoms is the administration of L-Dopa, the precursor to dopamine, and is currently the method of choice in medicine. However, after a period of continuous treatment, patients often develop L-Dopa-induced dyskinesia (LID). There are numerous theories as to why this occurs and possible alternative treatments are suggested in lieu of L-Dopa, such as gene therapy. Here, we explore the history of Parkinsons disease, the turning points of research that lead to the development of L-Dopa treatment for Parkinsons, and modern problems concerning this treatment.
A metabolite of the kratom alkaloid mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine, is a more potent ¬µ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonist than mitragynine.¬†Here, we investigated if mitragynine is a prodrug that exerts opioid agonist activity, in part, through metabolic conversion to 7-hydroxymitragynine. ¬†The binding affinity of 7-hydroxymitragynine at the human MOR (Ki=78 nM, [3H]DAMGO) was 22-fold lower than morphine and 9.0-fold higher than mitragynine.¬†The % maximum GTPgS stimulations of 7-hydroxymitragynine at the MOR were 45% (‚â§30 ¬µM). ¬†In contrast, mitragynine (‚â§100 ¬µM) did not significantly stimulate GTPgS.¬†In the hotplate assay at 52¬∞C,¬†the % maximum possible effects (MPE, ED50s in mg/kg) of i.v. 7-hydroxymitragynine, i.v. morphine, i.v. and p.o. mitragynine were 100% (1.9), 100% (5.1), 34% (>17.8) and 27% (>178), respectively.¬†Finally, drug discrimination was used as a pharmacologically selective measure of MOR agonism in vivo.¬†In rats discriminating morphine (3.2 mg/kg, i.p.) from vehicle, the discriminative-stimulus effects of mitragynine were assessed 90 minutes after p.o. administration.¬†Mitragynine (‚â§178 mg/kg) produced 76% morphine-lever responding (ED50=51 mg/kg).¬†7-hydroxymitragynine is a more potent and effective MOR agonist than mitragynine, suggesting that the conversion may contribute to the in vivo MOR activity of mitragynine.
Over time, people understand their learning abilities and what tools are necessary to facilitate learning; however, it is generally unknown from what part of the brain people develop that understanding. The prefrontal cortex of the brain is largely responsible for metacognition, the awareness of how one thinks. Although extensive research has shown the involvement of the prefrontal cortex in this process, the research is not usually survey based. This longitudinal study aims to prove the prefrontal cortex as the developmental area of metacognition for coding through personal surveys from college students within the computer science department.¬†To expand on how this research was conducted, two semesters of students of an undergraduate data structures class were analyzed through retrospective surveys conducted at the beginning and end of every semester as well as reflection papers submitted alongside quarterly projects.The goal was to show a correlation between class performance and metacognitive learning methods, such as reviewing course material, practicing outside of class, etc. After performing such tests, the results did not show a significant correlation between the actions students took and their class performance; however, metacognition does not necessarily facilitate a higher score in a class but can mean long term retention.
The bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei is the cause of Melioidosis, a tropical disease endemic to Asia. One factor that makes B. pseudomallei virulent is the widespread recombination of the genome. Genomic islands can be found throughout the genome in the form of prophage islands, containing temperate phages which insert themselves into the genome. These temperate phages can be identified at the locations associated with tRNA site-specific recombination (SSR). Previous research has indicated that phages of family Myoviridae recombine downstream of tRNA-Phenylalanine (Phe) and Siphovirdae recombine downstream of Proline (Pro). However, the specific sequences of the phages and their prevalence in B. pseudomallei are unknown. By isolating the regions downstream of these tRNA repeats of 112 complete B. pseudomallei genomes we were able to identify the frequency and length of the phages. The 24 phages isolated at the Phe location are all of the same family, with the lowest similarity between strains at 82%, and the 11 phages isolated at the Pro location are all of the same family, with the lowest similarity of 85%. By understanding the tRNA SSRs in B. pseudomallei, there will be a better understanding of the genetic diversity and causes of resistance in the bacteria.
Costs of cancer treatment have significantly increased, partly due to advancements in cancer treatment options. In turn, increases can lead to financial toxicity, which is anxiety brought about by high costs of cancer treatments that correlates with multiple negative health outcomes. We want to study the effects of providing cancer patients with financial counseling with the goal of reducing financial toxicity, specifically examining the counselor perspective on the viability of using telehealth formats to deliver counseling. We conducted a pilot study using financial counselors to measure this for cancer patients at UF Health. Prior to the counseling period, we conducted a focus group, so now we will conduct individual interviews after the counseling finishes. Researchers will then use thematic qualitative open coding to analyze responses. In the focus group, counselors reported feeling that adding financial counseling to their current job responsibilities is a new professional challenge, but also produces overwhelming feelings. Overall, however, counselors felt excited about implications of our study. Our research could offer evidence in support of financial counseling being a feasible reality for cancer patients and a viable option to be delivered over telehealth platforms, which could help shape the future of financial counseling for all patients.
The Incu-Gator is an autonomous microbioreactor developed for the UF Biofoundry with the objective of providing lab equipment at an accessible cost to as many researchers as possible. This system will incorporate automated liquid handling, temperature control, agitation, gas evacuation, and optical measurement mechanisms to increase the UF Biofoundry‚Äôs research capabilities and processing speed. Through research and analysis, it was found that an automated pipette style liquid handling system will work the best to maintain the requirements outlined by the customer. An optical photodiode will be mounted on the liquid handling system and paired with optical LEDs that will be placed under the cultures to measure the optical density and fluorescent intensity of the samples. This will allow for the conditions of the cultures to be monitored and adjusted throughout the cycle. The temperature and gas evacuation mechanisms will automatically adjust to maintain a proper environment needed for the cultures to grow by utilizing sensors to monitor the internal conditions of the bioreactor. The samples will sit on a plate that will allow for variable agitation of the cultures and the system will have a modular design for movement and storage on a lab countertop.
Mucopolysaccharidoses IIIB (MPSIIIB) is an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disease caused by mutations in the gene N-acetyl-glucosaminidase (NAGLU). Defective NAGLU activity results in aberrant retention of heparan sulfate within lysosomes and progressive central nervous system (CNS) degeneration. Intravenous treatment options are limited by the need to overcome the blood-brain barrier and gain successful entry to the CNS. We previously demonstrated effective disease improvement using AAV5-NAGLU intraparenchymal injection at 6 sites. Additionally, we demonstrated AAV8 provides a broader transduction area in the MPS IIIB mouse brain compared to AAV5, 9 or rh10. A triple-capsid mutant (tcm) modification of AAV8 further enhanced expression and distribution. Using the MPSIIIB mouse model, we performed a study using either intracranial six site (IC6) injections or cisternal injection of AAVtcm8-coNAGLU compared to no treatment controls to determine disease correction as estimated by the effects on enzyme activity, CNS immune activation, coordination, activity level, hearing, and survival. Histology and enzymatic assay both show each injection method results in supranormal levels of NAGLU expression in the brain. We will present the analysis of running wheel, rotarod, auditory evoked brainstem response, survival, biochemical activity and histologic distribution of NAGLU and immune activation of these cohorts.
Video games provide an interactive platform for players to make decisions with variable consequences. When presented with moral dilemmas, situations in which either choice entails transgressing a moral principle, players are faced with difficult decisions often typical of those they would encounter in real life. No studies have examined the prevalence of moral dilemmas in video games, and nothing is known about the kinds of moral dilemmas that video games may offer to the player. The current study was designed to examine the prevalence and the types of moral dilemmas found in video games. The study contained 114 games, of which 17 had at least one moral dilemma. The first 3 hours of each game were coded for the moral dilemmas that appeared. The results showed that moral dilemmas relating to care, fairness, and immediate physiological needs were the most common. Dilemmas relating to mating and group affiliation were the least common. There were also significantly more dilemmas comparing altruistic-altruistic and altruistic-egoistic decisions than egoistic-egoistic decisions. The abundance of altruistic decisions suggests video games have the potential to be an effective vehicle in teaching prosocial behaviors.
Mitragynine, the most abundant alkaloid in kratom and its active metabolite 7-hydroxymitragynine have been reported to be ¬µ-opioid agonists and are responsible for the analgesic effects of kratom. Recently, 7- hydroxymitragynine was demonstrated to be largely responsible for opioid-like effects of kratom indicating that mitragynine is a prodrug. Thus, the altered metabolism of mitragynine could result in altered exposure to 7-hydroxymitragynine thereby affecting pharmacodynamic responses. We have studied the pharmacodynamic responses (drug discrimination and hot plat assays) of mitragynine in rats in the presence or absence of ketoconazole (a known cyp3a inhibitor). Pretreatment with ketoconazole (56 mg/kg, p.o.) resulted in a 4.7-fold leftward shift in morphine-like discrimination dose-effect function of mitragynine. No dose of mitragynine produced robust antinociceptive effects regardless of the presence or absence of ketoconazole. Ketoconazole (56 mg/kg, p.o.) shifted to the left a dose-effect functions of morphine-like discrimination and antinociception of 7-hydroxymitragynine by 9.7- and 4.1-fold, respectively. Ketoconazole had negligible effects on the discriminative-stimulus and antinociceptive effects of morphine. In summary, concomitant administration of a cyp3a enzyme inhibitor with kratom could significantly potentiate the in vivo ¬µ-opioid activity of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine
The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated existing health disparities within underserved and vulnerable communities across the country. Access to healthcare resources has become unpredictable, and systems intended to serve marginalized populations have been paralyzed, necessitating real-time community-based resources. Healthcare leaders play a vital role in the maintenance of community health through their intimate knowledge of the groups they work with as well as local resources. The primary aim of this study is to construct a collective narrative of how local healthcare organizations and leaders in Gainesville, Florida have adapted to addressing the health-related needs of vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, ten key stakeholders from the healthcare sector were interviewed regarding their missions, targeted populations, challenges to resource access and allocation, and changes in services. Zoom Video Communications was used to interview each participant with each participant consenting to having their audio recorded. Audio recordings were transcribed using¬†Otter.ai¬†and verified for quality assurance by one of the research team members. Qualitative analysis using NVivo 12 software will include the constant comparative method to extract common themes and ideas from the recorded transcripts. Results from the study will be used to identify future interventions, health care needs, and gaps in research. Findings will also be shared with healthcare leaders who can use these findings to address the systemic disparities that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected in the community.
Chemical decellularization is a method that aims to remove intracellular components from tissues to yield an extracellular matrix (ECM). Tissue-derived ECM scaffolds have far-reaching applications in biomedical engineering and healthcare, including test-beds to provide in vitro environments for drug testing, whole organ decellularization to minimize risk of rejection and need for immunosuppressants in organ transplant patients, and hydrogels for controlled drug delivery and support structure for the formation of desired tissues. Current criteria for assessing tissue decellularization, as described by a publication by Badylak, require no visible nuclei in tissues stained with H & E or DAPI, less than 50ng of DNA per mg of dry weight of tissue, and any remaining DNA to be shorter than 200 bp. This study recognizes that there are two other crucial aspects for characterizing decellularized tissues that must also be considered: ECM preservation and intracellular protein removal. To find the best method to include these aspects in characterization, Western Blot, DNA quantification, gel electrophoresis, and immunostaining were utilized to characterize the retention and removal of key tissue components in various staining conditions, including s100, laminin, a-sma, and DAPI. ImageJ was then used to visualize ECM preservation and intracellular protein removal. Immunostaining and imaging results demonstrated significant removal of DNA and intracellular proteins in heart and nerve tissues, with sufficient retention of extracellular proteins. These findings can be used to better assess and optimize chemical decellularization for development of tissue scaffolds for treatment of neurological and musculoskeletal disorders, tissue engineering devices, and drug delivery methods.
The IncuGator is a microbioreactor that has the lowest technical entry barrier for the use of cell culture laboratory equipment by employing simple and intuitive user controls. Through the automation of the filling, feeding, and incubation processes, it is now easier than ever for anyone to grow and study various kinds of cells without the sanitation and technical challenges of the past. Using a unique liquid handling system, the IncuGator automatically senses and fills the well trays while maintaining the highest sanitary standards. From there the wells are sealed and moved to an incubator where they are subject to variable temperatures, light intensities, atmospheric conditions, and movement patterns. Finally, after the set and desired incubation period, the cells are ready to be used and studied by anyone, from a high school classroom to a high-grade biology lab. The excess media, trays, and all other equipment can be sanitized by the system, and either used again or disposed of safely.
Selective laser melting (SLM) is a process that utilizes a high-density laser to efficiently manufacture parts with complex geometries. Since the parts produced using SLM tend to have a high surface roughness, porosity, and residual tensile stresses, post-SLM processes that could lower these negative features have been sought to improve part performance. It has been demonstrated that a combination of magnetic field-assisted polishing (MAP) and magnetic field-assisted burnishing (MAB) enables alteration of surface roughness and residual tensile stress on SLM-produced stainless steel 316L workpieces. Recent experiments demonstrated that an additional MAP process after a combination of MAP and MAB processes can result in a textured ‚Äúwavy‚Äù surface, which may have special wetting characteristics. Wettability is a metric used to quantitatively describe the hydrophobicity or hydrophilicity of a surface based on the contact angles formed when a water droplet is placed on the surface. Varying the processing conditions may enable other functions on the workpiece surfaces. This study aims to clarify both the mechanism that creates the characteristic textured surface and the effects of the surface texture on the surface wettability and some other functional applications.
Increasing the capabilities of laboratories that use recombinant DNA is the main¬†priority for the redesign of the existing microbioreactors. To improve upon the¬†existing design, an autonomous microbioreactor should be capable of controlling¬†environmental conditions, liquid handling, and measuring solution properties such as¬†optical density and fluorescent intensity.¬†By improving upon existing microbioreactor¬†technology, this system aims to bolster the speed and research capacity of such¬†laboratories. The microbioreactor‚Äôs driving concept is to provide the most user-friendly handling capabilities, minimizing costs associated with system errors and¬†skewed experimental data. To achieve this, the microbioreactor‚Äôs general design¬†incorporates s very user-friendly interface, allowing for simple programming and¬†minimal effort required to load and unload samples into the device. This system¬†provides a simple operation for the laboratory to obtain accurate results for¬†experiments conducted using the newly redesigned microbioreactor.
The vagal system is composed of two parallel nerves and mounting evidence suggests that sensory neurons located in the right or left nodose ganglia (NG) convey asymmetrical sensory information from the gut to the brain. We used a novel CART-Cre mouse line to target gut-innervating NG neurons and dissociate their role in feeding. To compare projection patterns, intestinal samples were imaged in mice injected into the left (LNG) or right NG (RNG). with cre-dependent viral constructs expressing separate fluorescent reporters A cre-dependent anterograde viral tracer was used to map the central circuits of gut-innervating LNG and RNG neurons. Food intake was measured in response to chemogenetic stimulation of LNG or RNG neurons. LNG and RNG neurons innervated vastly different portions of the small intestine. Despite similar hindbrain projections, different post-synaptic connections were observed in LNG and RNG neurons suggesting different downstream circuits are recruited. Finally, activation of LNG neurons resulted in a greater and more sustained reduction in food intake compared to stimulation of RNG neurons. Our anatomical, functional, and behavioral data demonstrate that gut-brain signaling is highly lateralized, which may provide a mechanism for how feeding decisions are made in response to vast and complex meal-related signals.
Implanted nerve electrodes have the potential to create high resolution neural-electronic interfaces, they are increasingly being used for applications such as neural protheses, allowing for motor control and sensory feedback. Simulations of electrical currents at electrodes embedded in nerves are often conducted in finite element modeling programs, such as COMSOL, but are computationally expensive at patient specific detail due to long simulation times. Being able to replace a solid portion of the model with an equivalent expression could serve to reduce the time needed for simulation. This research aims to find suitable boundary conditions to replace the need for the modeling of the perineurium, the thin layer of connective tissue that acts as a resistive sheath around the neural fibers, in nerve-electrode models in order to save time and processing power.
The Jones Laboratory has shown in previous research that changes in select gene expression within the genome of¬†Enterobacter cloacae¬†occur as a result of norovirus binding to¬†E. cloacae. The parameters used for these findings include growing¬†E. cloacae¬†in LB media to stationary phase and using PBS as a diluent when incubating¬†E. cloacae¬†with¬†human norovirus GII.4 VLPs (HNoV) and murine norovirus-1 (MNV) in separate tubes. It has yet to be determined if these specific changes in LB-grown¬†E. cloacae¬†gene expression due to norovirus binding are analogous when¬†E. cloacae¬†is grown to the mid-log phase in LB media. Therefore, I will be researching changes in gene expression within¬†E. cloacae¬†grown to stationary phase and¬†E. cloacae¬†grown to the mid-log phase using PBS as a diluent followed by viral incubation with¬†HNoV¬†and MNV for both experiments. The results of these experiments could lead to the identification of similarities and/or differences between changes in gene expression within¬†E. cloacae as a result of adjusting the parameters of the growth phase of the bacteria.
The Precision Automation System for Long-Time-Scale Incubation (PASLI) is a micro bioreactor which addresses the need for a comprehensive incubation system which can monitor the optical density and fluorescent intensity of culturing samples in well plates or sample tubes while regulating the gaseous environments, light intensity, temperature range, and liquid levels of the incubating media. This device combines the disparate capabilities of multiple pre-existing devices in a stand-alone manner that meets BSL-2 laboratory guidelines while adding the ability to culture at extremophilic temperatures. The device is broken into six sub-functions which comprehensively cover the range of desired incubating actions. These sub-functions are liquid handling, fail-safe and user involvement, structural, measurement and monitoring, environmental control, and vibrational control. Our team recognizes the challenges and limitations of creating a comprehensive device by establishing a hedgehog statement for the design: to create the most robust micro bioreactor, maximize the automation and the comprehensiveness of the culturing routines. In this, we recognize our passion for and expertise in autonomy and control, developing a stand-alone system that requires little user-involvement which allows for researchers to allocate their time more efficiently.
There is a lack of autonomous bioreactors in the market, thus this design will serve as a multi-functional bioreactor with the ability to culture microbes in interchangeable compartments. This feature eliminates the human labor required to pipette the mediums into wells and test tubes after the culture has been made, saving time and money. For this design, the aliquots are evaluated by being strapped down in the center of the interior system. Using a channel-style dispensing mechanism, the bacteria fluids are inserted into the well plates and test tubes. The optical density and fluorescent intensity are then measured by a retracting wavelength sensor and LED. The test tubes and wells can be released from the outside of the machine to fulfill the autonomous feature. The product designs were rated and selected based on functionality and the needs of the customer, UF Biofoundry.
The electrical excitation of nervous tissue (i.e., neurons and axons) is the basis of neural communication in biology. Neural engineering is a field of research that provides therapies for people who have missing communication pathways in their nervous system. For example, electronic nerve-interfaces may be implanted in the residual nerves of amputees and provide sensory feedback for a prosthetic limb by electrically activating sensory nerve fibers. By understanding the biophysical mechanisms that enable nerve fiber excitation by external electric fields, nerve-interfaces may be accurately designed. The following research was conducted to demonstrate how neural activation is dependent on the temporal nature of external electric fields. The dependent relationship will be shown using modeling platforms, Python and NEURON, to simulate neural activation at the node of Ranvier in axonal fibers. Monophasic or biphasic pulses were used as input to cause activation. A biphasic pulse was found to be more effective at causing activation at a lower voltage.
Longleaf pine savannas are being restored across the southeastern United States at an increasing rate. Therefore, managers seek to increase the efficiency and efficacy of current restoration practices. Previous research has shown that Aristida beyrichiana (wiregrass) has greatest flower and seed production following growing season burns; this is typically when managers burn prior to collecting seeds for restoration projects. However, resource availability, such as light transmittance through overstory trees, may also affect fecundity. We tested this idea by calculating the proportion of reproductive wiregrass individuals, counting the number of culms, and determining seed germination rates from plants in Ordway-Swisher Biological Station (OSBS) that experienced fire during January, March, or June with varied canopy cover. We found plants burned in March under open canopies had the greatest reproductive probability, and the numbers of culms per plant was mainly affected by plant basal area. Finally, seeds of plants burned in June had a significantly higher germination rate compared to the other treatments. Thus, plants are likely to flower when burned in March or June, but burns in June for plots with higher canopy densities are recommended to yield higher germination rates of wiregrass for restoration projects.
An autonomous microbioreactor system is necessary to increase the speed and research capacities of laboratories such as the University of Florida Biofoundry. Current microbioreactor systems are not sufficient in working with large volumes and lack automation. The main goal of the new microbioreactor is to increase design flexibility, reduce costs, and further the creation of open-sourced microbiological¬†data. The goal will be accomplished through the microbioreactor‚Äôs culture and liquid handling system while simultaneously monitoring a culture‚Äôs characteristics.¬†The new design features increased temperature control ranges, fluid addition and subtraction capability, and accommodation for a variety of existing culture vessels. Additional design features include gaseous injection and disposal, multiple shaking patterns, and an intuitive user interface. The conglomeration of features would be held in a modular housing unit for user exchangeability.
A vital part of any good strategy for most imperfect-information games is making predictions about the information that is unavailable. For example, in card games like Poker and Gin Rummy, predicting the kinds of cards the opponent is holding is necessary for playing well. Specifically, it is useful for agents to be able to map the partial game states that are made available to them to the probabilities of each of the possible complete game states, given that they are playing against other rational player(s). Finding this relationship, however, is difficult, as it requires knowledge of how a rational player would play, which is the problem this relationship is being used to solve. In this paper, we attempt to find this relationship in the context of the card game Gin Rummy, though instead of predicting the complete game state, we focus on what is most useful to a player: the opponent‚Äôs hand. We do this by using heuristic utility functions to create an agent that approximates how a rational player would play, and then using the resulting game data to train a Deep Neural Network mapping known information to predictions about the opponent‚Äôs hand. This model is used to improve the existing agent and, in turn, produce more data to create better models. better models.
Linking season of fire to floral abundance and reproductive fitness of Ageratina jucundaMilo Neelands, May Armstrong, Raelene CrandallFire Ecology Lab, SFRC Research shows that fires in pine savannas of the North American Coastal Plain must be frequent and recurrent to maintain high understory plant biodiversity. Although we know fires should occur every 1-3 years, the appropriate season to burn for promoting seed production and high biodiversity is unclear. It is often postulated that fires during the growing season are correlated with high floral abundance, but some research contradicts this idea and previous research has neglected to link fire season, flower and seed production, and seed viability. To examine the effects of fire during different seasons on plant fecundity, we measured reproduction of Ageratina jucunda (hammock snakeroot) in Ordway-Swisher Biological Station burn units that experienced fire during three different seasons (January, March, and June) in 2019. The proportion of reproductive A. jucunda individuals increased as burns occurred closer to summer. Regardless of when fire occurred, plants produced similar numbers of flowers per plant. We germinated the seeds in an incubator to determine whether floral abundance is related to reproductive fitness. The proportion of seeds that germinated from the January burn unit was significantly greater than in the March or June burn units. Knowledge of the effects of fire season on reproductive fitness of individual species is important for predicting how its relative abundance in a community will change if fires are restricted to a particular season.
Broccoli is an important vegetable crop and has been grown in nearly all states throughout the US since 1925. Over the last 35 years, the average consumption of fresh broccoli has increased from 1.7 pounds in 1980 to 7.1 pounds in 2017. According to the data available from ‚ÄòThe Packer Fresh Trends‚Äô demonstrated¬†¬†54% of shoppers purchased broccoli in the last 12 months putting it on the list of 3rd¬†most-consumed vegetables. The significant increase in broccoli consumption over the years is primarily due to the health-related properties and antioxidants present in broccoli. The florets are susceptible to the dynamic environmental conditions particularly temperature, such as premature frost or a hot splash. Therefore, developing new cultivars and varieties can be an economical alternative to broccoli cultivation in the home garden that saves space, shortens maturity time, and produces fresh produce all year regardless of outdoor conditions.¬†Developing a hydroponic broccoli system provides an effective alternative where productivity can be enhanced in a marginal land area at a relatively lower cost. This will also help us provide deep insights about the growing number of novel broccoli cultivars and will benefit vegetable producers in Florida over time.
The SABr concept was developed to improve upon microbioreactor systems currently offered in the market, while offering the most autonomous machine to optimize the user experience. The solution will utilize turbidostat technology in order to complete cell cultures in a tabletop design, while offering a more user-friendly experience and handling larger volumes of cellular properties. The SABr will be able to culture microbes in enclosed compartments while monitoring optical density (OD) and fluorescent intensity (FI) to ensure an ideal environment for culture testing. This is achieved through six subsystems that integrate into one coherent design. The liquid handling system provides full autonomy with little human intervention required through the use of 3-axis motion, a pump system to transport the fluid, and a nozzle system to insert and remove fluid. The microbiological capabilities of the system allow users to monitor pH levels, temperature and other indicative bacterial properties. The control system allows the user to control variables for bacteria growth such as ambient temperature, gas levels, light intensity and shake patterns. The overall structure of this design is easily accessible and designed for tabletop use by being lightweight and smaller than 28 inches wide.
Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) are being explored for use in neural regeneration applications because they are known to secrete growth factors and can be readily sourced by liposuction. This study aimed to optimize multiple ASC culture conditions to obtain the most pro-regenerative secreted products (i.e., ‚Äúsecretome‚Äù). Two sources of ASCs (clinical versus commercial) were tested for basal secretions of growth factors, like vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), using ELISAs. Results show comparable levels of secreted VEGF but differences in BDNF in the secretome, with the clinically harvested ASCs producing less overall. A model for neurite extension using human neuroblastoma SY5Y neurites was developed to assess ASCs secretome secretions ability to promote outgrowth We analyzed SY5Y response to ASC-conditioned media. Results indicated that ASC-conditioning supported neurite outgrowth similar to the positive control. Lastly, exogenous electrical stimulation was applied to ASCs in effort to augment pro-regenerative secretome production. ASCs were exposed to a low-level field strength. Resulting gene expression analysis determined that stimulation was only capable of increasing gene expression to maximum 1.5-fold in all cases. Repeating the neurite extension tests with secretome from the electrically stimulated ASCs yielded no significant difference in outgrowth between electrically stimulated and not electrically stimulated cells.
With the rise of technology comes the growing reliance on Printed Circuit Boards (PCB). However, this increased reliance has caused outsourcing of the supply chain, which leads to decreasing the reliability of the product. This trend makes hardware assurance an important area. More specifically there are automatic hardware assurance projects that aim to provide real-time assurance for large, complex PCBs. This process usually involves the use of Traditional Computer Vision (CV) techniques however, these are usually either inaccurate or time-consuming, requiring consistent manual review, and lack of generalization. This research aims to examine and analyze how well this effort can be improved with the use of neural networks to segment these PCB components. In this study, five different semantic segmentation architectures were analyzed based on use case viability and then implemented and trained on over 6000 different component images. After training, the different metrics and prediction outputs of the networks were obtained and compared against each other. Overall, the results of the networks show that they are viable options that are accurate and can pick up on the nuanced details of some PCB components with the potential of being able to obtain even better results through more training and data.
The Safety Profile of Mitragynine, the Primary Constituent in Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) in Rats¬†Avi Patel1, Luis F. Restrepo1, Nicholas P. Ho1, Lea R. Gamez Jimenez1, Samuel Obeng1,2, Francisco Leon2, Christopher R. McCurdy2, Lance R. McMahon1 and Takato Hiranita1Departments of Pharmacodynamics1 and Medicinal Chemistry2, College of Pharmacy, University of FloridaWe examined the mu-opioid receptor (MOR) binding affinity and efficacy of the primary kratom alkaloid mitragynine in cell culture; moreover, we assessed mitragynine‚Äôs capacity to produce discriminative-stimulus effects, hot-plate antinociception, respiratory depression, and lethality in rats.¬† Mitragynine inhibited [3H]DAMGO binding to human MOR (Ki=600 nM).¬† Mitragynine was functionally inactive up to 100 ¬µM at the human MORs.¬† In separate groups of rats trained to discriminate either morphine (3.2 mg/kg i.p.) or mitragynine (32 mg/kg i.p.) from vehicle, neither drug fully cross-substituted for the other.¬† Morphine produced up to a 65% maximum possible effect (ED50=7.2 mg/kg) in the hotplate procedure while no dose of mitragynine was active.¬† Mitragynine (ED75=183 mg/kg) was 2.5- less potent than morphine in decreasing respiration.¬† The ED75 value of mitragynine was 1.6-fold less than its LD50 value (159 mg/kg, i.p.) in our studies.¬† However, mitragynine in the present study was 1.6-fold more potent than morphine (LD50: 300 mg/kg, i.p.) to produce lethality.¬† The present study demonstrated that mitragynine is at least two-fold less potent than morphine to produce a variety of behavioral effects.¬† Supported by USPHS grants DA47855 and DA48353.
The ¬µ-opioid (MOR) or adrenergic alpha2 receptor (Aa2R) agonists are current medications to treat opioid dependence, and have been demonstrated to produce antinociceptive synergism when combined.¬†Additionally, kratom has been anecdotally used to mitigate opioid dependence in foreign countries.¬†Here¬†¬†has¬†been anecdotally used.¬†The receptor mechanism of action for mitragynine, the most abundant alkaloid in kratom, has not been established.¬†Here, ¬µ-opioid receptor (MOR) activity of mitragynine and its metabolite 7-hydroxymitragynine was assessed.¬†Among the three opioid receptor subtypes, both kratom alkaloids had highest affinity for MOR, with 7-hydroxymitragynine having nine-fold higher affinity than mitragynine.¬†In MOR using a¬†[35S]GTPŒ≥S¬†functional assay, mitragynine functioned as an antagonist whereas 7-hydroxymitragynine functioned as a partial agonist.¬†In separate groups of rats discriminating either morphine or mitragynine, neither drug fully cross-substituted for the other.¬†However, 7-hydroxymitragynine fully substituted for both drugs.¬†Mitragynine failed to increase hotplate latency¬†whereas 7-hydroxymitragynine produced significant antinociception.¬†The opioid antagonist naltrexone antagonized the discriminative-stimulus, rate-decreasing, and antinociceptive effects of morphine, but antagonized only the discriminative-stimulus of mitragynine.¬†In morphine-trained rats, naltrexone antagonized the discriminative-stimulus and antinociceptive effects of 7-hydroxymitragynine. Pretreatment with mitragynine increased the potency of the morphine discrimination.¬†These results demonstrate marked differences in the MOR-mediated efficacy of kratom alkaloids, with mitragynine having less intrinsic activity than 7-hydroxymitragynine across a range of assays¬†in vitro¬†and¬†in vivo.
Mitragynine, the most abundant alkaloid in kratom, has received much attention due to its ¬µ-opioid receptor (MOR) pharmacology. However, non-MOR activity of mitragynine has been reported. Here, adrenergic alpha2 receptor (AÔÅ°2R) activity of mitragynine and its metabolite 7-hydroxymitragynine was assessed. Among the two human receptor subtypes in brain (AÔÅ°2A and AÔÅ°2C), mitragynine had higher affinity (Kis=4 uM) than 7-hydroxymitragynine (50% inhibition at 100 uM). In the AÔÅ°2R subtypes using a [ 35S]GTPŒ≥S functional assay, mitragynine functioned as an antagonist. In rats discriminating mitragynine, no dose of AÔÅ°2R agonists (lofexidine and clonidine) or antagonists (yohimbine and atipmaezole) fully crosssubstituted for mitragynine; however, the AÔÅ°2R ligands dose-dependently produced robust hotplate antinociception and hypothermia. In contrast, 7-hydroxymitragynine and the MOR agonist methadone fully substituted for mitragynine and produced robust antinociception; however, no change in rectal temperature was observed. Pretreatment with yohimbine or atipamezole antagonized the discriminative-stimulus, rate-decreasing, and hypothermic effects whereas the discriminative-stimulus, rate-decreasing, and antinociceptive effects of 7-hydroxymitragynine were insensitive to these antagonists. Though species and assay differences are suggested, these results demonstrate marked differences in the AÔÅ°2R-mediated efficacy of kratom alkaloids, with mitragynine having more intrinsic activity than 7-hydroxymitragynine across a range of assays in vivo.
In this project the methods of creating a Heterodyne Phase Camera (HPC) and its performance are explored. The HPC maps the spatial wave front of two interfering laser beams by detecting the phase of the beat note as resolved by different pixels of a CMOS camera. These phase maps can be displayed real-time or processed offline for a more detailed analysis. This inexpensive and easy to use camera can be used to make measurements or characterize components in any experiments which require precision optical metrology.
The aim of this project is to design a device suited for use in biological labs that can move cell cultures at a high working volume and process them with minimal user interaction. This will provide larger research and production capacity across all relevant platforms ranging from pharmaceuticals to cancer research. In order to focus on aspects that benefit the major functions of the device, our design is aiming to process the largest volume and variety of cell cultures at any given time. As a result, our design concepts will feature several components that allow us to process and monitor any number of experiments. The design will be able to transfer liquids from one vessel to another autonomously, measure optical density and fluorescent intensity corresponding to individual cultures, and maintain atmospheric conditions that are identical for all compartments at a given time. It will operate at extreme conditions that provide the most opportunity for abnormal evolution in a large population of cells.
An innovative device is being developed for the UF Bio Foundry. The device that is being designed is aimed towards promoting the continuous growth of biological cultures. The device will be capable of testing hundreds of variants of culture conditions and will be able to tune a variety of conditions within the system that will help promote growth of culture that yield the desired outputs. The conceptual designs presented to solve the unique problem of the UF Bio Foundry will incorporate unique features that will set it apart from the other design groups and products on the market. The product will be great at solving the defined needs statements provided by the customer in an efficient and user friendly product package. The product that is being designed will be developed by a group of students that is passionate about creating a product that is very modular and each subsystem within the design is compatible with each other. The products economic engine is driven by the desire to minimize the cost per unit so that the machine is accessible to all.
Bullying is a severe issue for youth of all ages and has become more prevalent since expanding from face-to-face interactions at school to cyberbullying at home. Experiencing bullying has been associated with negative mental health effects including depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, but little research has examined the effects of online discrimination among adolescents. Therefore, we conducted a thorough literature review of the effects of racially motivated cyberbullying on minority youth, asking 1) What are the effects of online discrimination among adolescents? 2) How do adolescents cope with online discrimination? We found 16 articles through Google Scholar. The inclusion criteria include peer-reviewed journal articles that focus on adolescents‚Äô experiences with racialized cyberbullying or online discrimination. The exclusion criteria include prevention studies, case studies, and excerpts from novels or dissertations. After analyzing articles, we found that self-reported surveys were the most common method of obtaining data. From these surveys, researchers found that online race-related discrimination may have a negative effect on the psychological adjustment period that adolescents face. For future research, many studies recommend focusing on specific contexts of online ethnic and racial discrimination, such as how it affects different generations of students and other ethnic identities.
Keywords: Cyberbullying, Racism, Adolescents, Discrimination
The current study used an adolescent sample (N = 1,214; age range 11-17) to determine if social support decreases psychological stress by reducing loneliness. Moreover, this study assessed if socioeconomic risk moderates the indirect effects of social support on perceived stress. Adolescents self-reported levels of social support from friends and family, loneliness, and perceived stress. Caregivers reported socioeconomic data that was used to create a socioeconomic risk score. Hierarchical linear regressions showed that loneliness partially mediated the associations between social support and perceived stress (family support proportion mediated = 29%; friend support proportion mediated = 74%). A bootstrap analysis showed that the indirect effects of social support on perceived stress were moderated by socioeconomic risk (p < .001). Specifically, the results of this study found that social support only reduces perceived stress by decreasing loneliness at low levels of socioeconomic risk. These results suggest that during adolescence the pathways by which social support impacts psychological stress vary across the socioeconomic gradient. Future research should consider how socioeconomic status affects the impacts of social support among adolescent populations.
Examining the contribution of PcfFEG in Streptococcus sp. A12 on the antagonism of Streptococcus mutansGisela Rojas-Carre√±o, Kyulim Lee and Robert A. BurneDepartment of Oral BiologyUniversity of Florida College of Dentistry, Gainesville, FL, USAObjectives: The oral bacterium Streptococcus sp. A12 was isolated from human dental plaque and shown to effectively antagonize Streptococcus mutans, a prominent etiological agent of dental caries. Several gene products were shown to affect competition of A12 with S. mutans UA159, including PcfFEG, a three-component ABC transporter that provides immunity to bacteriocins. The aim of this study was to explore how PcfFEG contribute to competition against a variety of S. mutans isolates that harbor a spectrum of different bacteriocin biosynthetic gene clusters.Methods: To determine how PcfFEG contributed in the competitiveness of A12 against S. mutans, a competitive fitness index assay was performed under aerobic and anaerobic conditions between selected S. mutans isolates and A12 or an A12 strain lacking pcfFEG (A12‚àÜpcfFEG). Bacteriocin production by selected S. mutans isolates was evaluated using a deferred-antagonism assay, where Streptococcus sanguinis SK150, A12 or A12‚àÜpcfFEG were used as indicator strains. Plate-based growth inhibition assays were performed using S. mutans UA159 mutant strains lacking specific bacteriocin-encoding genes (nlmAB, nlmC or nlmD) to evaluate and better understand the specificity of PcfFEG.Results: Compared to S. sanguinis SK150, A12 uniformly showed enhanced immunity to the bacteriocins produced by S. mutans. Competitive fitness analysis showed that, while A12 outcompeted all S. mutans isolates under aerobic conditions, substantially fewer A12 were recovered in the absence of pcfFEG under anaerobic conditions. Compared to A12, A12‚àÜpcfFEG was more sensitive to S. mutans UA159, but showed enhanced resistance to S. mutans mutants lacking the NlmAB, NlmC or NlmD bacteriocins, compared to wild-type S. mutans.Conclusion: The results indicate that PcfFEG is an important resistance mechanisms used by A12 to compete against the cariogenic pathogen S. mutans. Studies examining probiotic mechanisms employed by A12 will contribute to a better understanding of how beneficial commensals promote oral health and can guide the development of more-effective strategies to control oral diseases.
Epithelial cells often line tissues and organs and protect them from frictional damage at the biological interfaces. Efforts to study these interactions have led to the development of in vitro models of biological interfaces, but historically, cells have been grown on hard surfaces (glass and plastic). In order to closely mimic the biological interfaces and better study the friction behavior, Extracellular matrixes of variable stiffness were created. To do so, cells are grown on soft surfaces by treating the surface of Polyacrylamide (PAAm), a hydrogel with tunable properties, with Sulfo-SANPAH. This photoactivatable reagent undergoes a ring-opening reaction via UV photoactivation. It contains at one end a phenyl azide group that, on photo-activation, reacts with PAAm.The other end is an ester group, which later reacts with amine groups that are present in collagen type I, Fibronectin and RGDS, etc. These proteins provide binding sites for cells on the hydrogel surface, and therefore, allow cell adhesion. Having PAAm surfaces with cells will provide in-vitro sliding conditions closer to real biological interfaces, which gives a better understanding of the complicated behaviors of epithelial cells under the sliding motion.
The autonomous bioreactor we are creating has several functions which contribute to the final goal. The first function is experimental. The machine will be given a well plate, cells, and a stressor; it will fill the tray with cells and varying amounts of stressor and observe the effect of the stressor on the cells. This observation is required for the second function, cell proliferation. The cells which survived the applied stressor will be moved to a separate chamber where a Turbidostat ensures they have the necessary environment to grow. Once new cells have grown, they will be distributed back into the well plate for another round of experimentation with a higher concentration of stressor. The cycle will continue, back and forth between the two systems, gradually increasing the amount of stressor. This combination of functions yields a device which will autonomously proliferate specially ‚Äútuned‚Äù cell cultures.
The integration of Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) in new vehicles has expanded access to the incredible safety benefits that automation technology can provide. However, to reap these benefits, drivers must use the ADAS features appropriately, which requires understanding how the system functions. Research has shown that traditional training materials, such as owner‚Äôs manuals, can fail to help drivers develop strong mental models. Traditional training approaches focus on the operational tasks required to turn on and use ADAS. Yet, they fail to effectively introduce the change in the driver‚Äôs role, from an operator who is responsible for control of the vehicle to a supervisor who must also monitor the automated system. This reframing of the driving task is essential in understanding how to use ADAS safely and effectively. This work aims to design training material that will help drivers develop better mental models of ACC. We will document the process of how our training material was developed and highlight the differences between our training and more traditional training approaches. The results of this work may lead to the development and standardization of automation training that results in safe and effective use of ADAS systems.
Due to a vast expansion of research developments and terminology related to invasive species, teachers may find it difficult to strengthen their knowledge of the subject. Some ecologists also recommend that teachers avoid certain terminology to enhance precision and reduce confusion in invasive species education. Thus, we constructed a collaborative workshop to renovate high school teachers‚Äô terminology, curriculum, and understanding of invasive species ecology. The workshops consisted of information sessions focused on university research and working sessions to revise existing lessons. Before and after the workshops, we asked the teachers to construct personal meaning maps (PMM) to assess shifts in their terminology and knowledge of invasive species. We used Microsoft Excel to count the number of nodes (individual concepts) in the pre- and post-workshop PMMs. Our preliminary analysis suggests an expansion of knowledge‚Äîtwo of the three post-workshop PMMs were larger and had greater node counts than their corresponding pre-workshop PMMs. Teachers also increased their use of scientifically-precise terminology post-workshop, which suggests a shift in terminology. Next steps include statistical analysis to confirm differences and assess effect sizes. To further improve invasive species education, personal meaning maps and teacher workshops emphasizing terminology may reduce confusion and strengthen curriculum design.
Norovirus is the leading cause of global severe childhood diarrhea and a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis for all ages. Despite its widespread impact, there is limited knowledge about the pathogenic mechanisms underlying norovirus-induced disease. Murine norovirus (MNV) has been used as a model for many years to investigate norovirus biology although a limitation of the model is that immunocompetent adult mice do not develop overt symptoms. Our lab has recently developed a novel model where genetically wild-type neonatal mice develop acute, self-resolving diarrhea following MNV-1 infection, a disease course that mirrors human norovirus pathogenesis. Furthermore, two genetically similar strains of MNV show differences in virulence as MNV-CR6 is attenuated compared to MNV-1. This difference in virulence allows us to determine which viral proteins are important in conferring virulence in vivo by producing chimeric viruses where individual viral proteins are swapped between the MNV-1 and MNV-CR6 strains. Preliminary mouse data have shown that VP1 from MNV-CR6 attenuates MNV-1, but NS1/2 and NS7 from MNV-CR6 has no effect. In this work, it will involve determining the mechanism by which the viral capsid protein VP1 contributes to virulence in this model system.
Templated based gravitational wave searches used by AdLIGO and AdVIRGO currently do not include eccentric orbital templates. Quasi-circular waveform templates are able to detect binaries with small eccentricities (e<0.1) but are inefficient at extracting moderately to highly eccentric binaries. The aim of this project is to be able to theorize the number of detections that LIGO is expected to see in the O5 run that are highly eccentric or not highly eccentric depending on the environments that the binaries exist in. Presented are the number of detections for binaries in dense star clusters.
A human muscle-on-chip system was developed to evaluate the effects of microgravity conditions on human myoblasts. In order to produce myoblasts with greater myogenic potential for seeding into the muscle-on-chip, magnetic-activated cell sorting was utilized to select for CD56+ muscle cells. Two cohorts consisting of young-athletic and old-sedentary myoblasts derived from donors were cultured and subsequently subjected to the cell sorting process. To increase efficacy of the process, an alternative approach consisting of an increase in cell sorting columns was utilized. Results demonstrated an increase in overall CD56+ yield when young-athletic cells were enriched, however, the same was not produced for the old-sedentary group. CD56+ muscle cells were seeded into the microfluidic chips and allowed to differentiate to generate muscle bundles. Four chips containing muscle bundles were fixed with paraformaldehyde and subjected to vibration testing at Kennedy Space Center. Vibration testing validated the enrichment, seeding, and differentiation protocols to be successful in generating muscle bundles that maintain integrity in simulated spaceflight conditions.
Previous studies that linked increased plant height to fire tolerance neglected to evaluate this relationship within a few centimeters above the ground. Microclimatological conditions in the boundary layer at the soil surface may allow appressed leaves to avoid extreme fire effects. In this study I experimentally evaluated fire effects on fresh leaves of Magnolia grandiflora held 0 and 1 cm above the soil surface during small-scale controlled burns in a partially restored Pinus palustris savanna. Leaves flush with the surface lost 14% less tissue to the fire than those suspended 1 cm above the ground (p < 0.0001). Probable causes for the observed differences include cooler temperatures and lower turbulence nearer to the ground due to the soil boundary layer. Planned future research on this issue includes measures of how fire temperatures vary within a few centimeters of the ground and field studies on survival of leaves on the soil surface.
At the University of Florida, students of minority background, such as African Americans, are underrepresented in engineering majors. To better understand why this trend occurs, surveys and focus groups were administered in an introductory course titled ‚ÄúThe Impact of Materials on Society.‚Äù We found that minority students were more likely to major in the humanities as they believed it would lead them to a career that directly helps society. However, after exposure to ‚ÄùThe Impact of Materials on Society‚Äù course, almost every student reported a greater understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of solving real world problems.
Title: Increases in County-Level Opioid Prescribing in the United States despite National Declining Rates, 2012-2018
Authors: Kashfaa Tasmim1; Lillianna Thomas 1, Amie Goodin1,2; Catalina Lopez-Quintero3; Haesuk Park1,2, Juan Mora4, Wei-Hsuan Lo-Ciganic1,2; Juan M. Hincapie-Castillo1,2,51. Department of Pharmaceutical Outcomes & Policy, University of Florida2. Center for Drug Evaluation and Safety, University of Florida3. Department of Epidemiology, University of Florida4. Department of Anesthesiology, University of Florida5. Pain Research & Intervention Center of Excellence, University of Florida
Background: Opioid prescribing in the United States reached its peak in 2012, representing 81.3 prescriptions per 100 persons. By 2018, the national-level opioid prescribing rate decreased to the lowest rate seen in thirteen years to 51.4 prescriptions per 100 persons. Although the opioid prescriptions rates aggregated at the national and state-levels continue to decrease, several counties remained with a high opioid prescribing rate over time. Understanding the characteristics of these counties with high opioid prescription rates may provide insight into the effect of policies at a local level.
Objective: To measure percent change in opioid prescriptions per 100 persons at the county level in the US in 2018 compared to the rate in 2012.Methods: We used publicly available Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data for county-level outpatient, all-purpose opioid prescribing for calendar years 2012 and 2018, restricting the analysis to counties that reported data for both years. We calculated percent change in opioid prescribing per 100 residents for each US County and reported descriptive statistics. The distribution of percent changes was mapped using geographic information system software to examine variation. Results: Among 2,710 counties, the mean opioid prescribing rate per 100 persons was 96.7 (SD: 49.5) and 64 per 100 persons (SD: 31.6) in 2012 and 2018, respectively. The mean percent change in this time period was -27.4% (SD:87.1) with a median of -34.9%. Compared to the opioid prescribing rate in 2012, 2,517 (93%) reported decreases and 189 counties (7%) reported increases in opioid prescribing in 2018. Among the counties that reported increases, 74% were located in rural areas.
Conclusion: There was an overall decrease in county-level outpatient opioid prescribing from 2012 to 2017. However, 7% of the US counties had significantly increased in opioid prescribing rate in 2018. Future research is needed to identify factors that may contribute to an increase in opioid prescribing.
The interconnection of FGPs in irradiated uranium-molybdenum (U-Mo) fuel is an indicator of fission gas release which (1) reduces mechanical integrity, (2) compromises the mechanical integrity, (3) contributes to swelling, and¬†(4) can potentially cause fuel failure. In this work, we applied a previously established method of measuring the FGP interconnectivity to investigate the influence of fuel matrix composition using two U-7Mo fuel plates irradiated at similar conditions. The results demonstrated that for 3.29-6.67√ó1021 fissions/cm3, FGP interconnectivity is 10%-20% less in U-7Mo with Al-2wt%Si matrix than in U-7Mo with a pure Al matrix. In addition, we observed that the interconnectivity and porosity of both plates converged on a ratio of 90% interconnectivity at 55% porosity. These findings indicate that the addition of silicon to the fuel matrix improves the microstructural behavior of U-Mo fuel in reactor environments.
Ischemic stroke is a leading cause of mortality and long-term disability. Stroke induces widespread molecular and cellular changes in the brain that are not restricted to the core of the infarct. Delayed secondary damage to the tissue surrounding the stroke core and changes in brain structures distant to the injured region (diaschisis) contribute to neuronal dysfunction. Activated microglia are believed to contribute to neuroinflammation and progressive stroke damage. However, microglial involvement in diaschisis in the ischemic brain remains unclear. We performed morphometric analyses on microglia from ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres of young and aged mice subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion. We found a significant increase in the cell body area of contralateral microglia in aged mice, but not in young brains, suggesting a smaller diaschisis in young animals. In contrast, the projection area of contralateral microglia were significantly decreased in both young and aged brains, suggesting a reduced surveillance ability of microglia in structures distant to the stroke core. Sholl analysis revealed a significant decrease in microglia complexity in the contralateral hemisphere of both young and aged mice. Our data support the hypothesis that microglia might be involved in delayed secondary injury to the contralateral side after strokes.
The presence of intercellular pathological inclusions of the protein Œ±-synuclein within dopaminergic neurons is one of the cardinal features of Parkinson‚Äôs disease (PD). Healthy dopaminergic neurons have extensive axonal arborization, whereas shrinkage in axonal arborization of dopaminergic neurons is reported in animal models of PD and in PD patients. To examine the contribution of Œ±-synuclein overexpression on the neuronal dysfunction and structure prior to neuronal demise, we performed morphometric analyses on a dopaminergic neuron overexpressing human Œ±-synuclein. We found in comparison to na√Øve dopaminergic neurons, Œ±-synuclein overexpression significantly decreased neuronal arborization and complexity. Our recent data suggest Œ±-synuclein downregulates D2 receptor activity, and pharmacological activation of D2 receptors restores neuronal activity. Therefore, we examined whether Quinpirole, a D2 receptor agonist, reduces the deleterious effects of Œ±-synuclein overexpression on neuronal complexity, but Sulpiride, a D2 receptor antagonist, accelerates Œ±-synuclein-induced neuropathology. We found D2 receptor agonism but not antagonism restored neuronal complexity suggesting that pharmacological activation of D2 receptors is a potential therapeutic target to alleviate Œ±-synuclein-induced neuropathology prior to neuronal death. Our data support the hypothesis that Œ±-synuclein overexpression contributes to dopaminergic neuronal dysfunction by reducing neuronal complexity, and D2 receptor agonist may provide a potential therapeutic target.
Aim: Opioid misuse (OM) is a critical issue in juvenile justice populations, where physical and sexual abuse are prevalent among justice-involved children (JIC). This study assesses the interaction between physical and sexual abuse and gender on OM among JIC. We hypothesized that in this population, physical and sexual abuse will have individual and aggregate effects that increase risk for OM and females will be at higher risk than males.
Methods: These analyses utilize cross-sectional data on 79,960 JIC from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. To test the hypothesis, bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used and marginal effects were estimated to investigate interactions between abuse and gender.
Results: Nearly 3% of JIC met criteria for OM. Youth that experienced physical abuse had 1.43 times higher odds of OM, those that experienced sexual abuse had 1.78 times higher odds, and those with histories of both had twice as high odds of OM than those with no history of abuse. Females had higher odds of OM than males with similar abuse profiles.
Conclusion: Incorporating abuse history and gender into risk assessments for OM is a critical component in modifying intervention and prevention efforts for JIC.
Previous research conceptualizes self-concept clarity (SCC) as a clear, stable, and positive self-concept. However, our initial studies exploring the link between temporal self-comparison and SCC suggest that thinking about one‚Äôs differences over time does not result in lower SCC, and thus temporal-stability may not play a key role in temporal self-comparison. Moreover, the typical measure of SCC showed weak measurement properties. To further elucidate the construct of SCC, the current research aims to validate an updated and indirect measure. Using a classic ‚Äúme/not me‚Äù task (Campbell, 1990), participants evaluated 40 traits as ‚Äúme‚Äù or ‚Äúnot me.‚Äù We then calculated the consistency, accessibility, and confidence of their responses and examined associations with both trait and state measures of SCC. Findings suggest that SCC is best captured by confidence and consistency, but these associations differed across the two SCC measures. State SCC was associated with confidence, and thus represents the feeling of truly knowing oneself. Trait SCC was associated with internal consistency, and thus represents the recognition of (non)conflicting self-attributes. These findings add important insights to the study of SCC and make way for future research on how people might experience self-concept clarity as both a feeling and a self-evaluation.