GRS 2017

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This collection gathers posters, talks, and performances presented at the 2017 Graduate Research and Scholarship Projects Day.


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Now showing 1 - 20 of 75
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    Role of Munc13-1 and Munc13-2 Proteins in Alcoholism, and its Potential Clinical Applications
    (2017) Badal, Sean; Ghosh, Anamitra; Wooden, Jessica; Leasure, J. Leigh; Das, Joydip
    Munc13-1 and Munc13-2 are presynaptic proteins that are involved in the vesicular priming and subsequent release of glutamate neurotransmitter. Previous research has demonstrated some of the effects of ethanol in specific areas of the brain related to addiction, but the effects of ethanol on the expression of Munc13-1 and Munc13-2 and their glutamatergic effects in different brain regions is unknown. First, we performed immunocytochemistry (ICC) of Munc13-1 and Munc13-2 on ethanol-treated differentiated HT22 cells in-vitro and found that there was a significant change in the overall expression of Munc13-1 in a dose and time-dependent manner. Next, we harvested primary hippocampal neurons, treated them with ethanol in a dose and time-dependent manner, and then measured both Munc13-1 and Munc13-2 protein expression using Western-blot analysis. Here, our results showed that ethanol significantly upregulates the expression of both Munc13-1 and Munc13-2. We then tested the effects of ethanol on Munc13 proteins in-vivo on both wild-type (Wt) and heterozygous Munc13-1 knockout mice, using the drinking in the dark (DID) paradigm. In comparison to our previous ex-vivo data, these results showed that with alcohol exposure there was a significant increase in the expression of Munc13-1 in the hippocampus and cerebellum of Wt mice, but a decrease in the expression of Munc13-2 in the hippocampus, cerebellum and cortex. In the heterozygous Munc13-1 knockout mice, ethanol caused significant compensation for the loss of Munc13-1 in the hippocampus and cerebellum, and also an increase in Munc13-2 expression in the cerebellum and cortex. Since both Munc13-1 and Munc13-2 predominantly control glutamatergic synapses, their modulation by ethanol exposure could potentiate an increase in glutamate release from the pre-synaptic terminals of these regions and stimulate excitation of the Central Nervous System (CNS). This is analogous to the CNS excitation we see with chronic AUD patients experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. By identifying these proteins as drug targets, we may be able to unfold a different mechanism of alleviating alcohol withdrawal symptoms in AUD patients, without the GABAergic adverse effects that usually present with the current mainstay treatment options.
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    The Behavioral Consequences of Early Life Sleep Deprivation
    (2017) Atrooz, Fatin Yousef; Liu, Hesong; Kochi, Camila; Salim, Samina
    Sleep, especially at developmental stages of early life, is essential for normal brain function and development. Sleep deprivation at early life stages (childhood and adolescence) is associated with behavioral impairment. The relationship between early life sleep deprivation and development of later life psychiatric symptoms is not clearly understood.
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    3D Modeling of Chromosomes Territories in Normal and Aneuploid Nuclei
    (2017) Yen, Fan-Yun; Merchant, Fatima Aziz
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    A New Robot-Assisted Therapy for Stroke Survivors: Effects of Long-Term Stretching Exercises on Ankle Range of Motion, Balance and Gait
    (2017) Yoo, Dongyual; Lee, Beom-Chan; Son, Younsun
    Our study has demonstrated that stroke survivors received ankle stretching exercises with the MAS for 4 weeks improved ankle range of motion, balance, and gait ability. These improvements remained relatively constant through the retention period (i.e., 1 month after the completion of the exercises). The findings have two important clinical implications: 1) stroke survivors could use the MAS in clinical or home environments, and 2) physical therapists could prescribe or adapt the MAS exercise sessions as needed.
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    Parent-Adolescent Concordance in Borderline Pathology and Why It Matters
    (2017) Wall, Kiana; Ahmed, Yusra; Sharp, Carla
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    Dune Topographic Changes from Repeat Terrestrial Laser Scans in the Freeport, Texas
    (2017) Zhou, Xin (Sarah); Wang, Guoquan
    Terrestrial Laser Scans by VZ2000 scanner integrated with R10 GPS ensure the precision as well as accuracy. The workflow for DEM can effectively facilitate change detection. According to the comparisons of profiles and dune features such as shoreline, volume, and dune ridge, the dune and beach at Bryan beach are retreating. However, the rate varies with the distance to Brazos River and the sea. The closer, the severer the impact to the change to dune and shoreline. It is comparable with 4.5m/y (from Bureau of Economic Geology), but LiDAR data provide much details in 3 dimensions.
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    DISCUSS Curriculum: Dialogic Inquiry of Socioscientific Issues with English Language Learners
    (2017) Wui, Glenda Ma.; Zhang, Jie
    The Space Exploration Unit was developed in an iterative process based on teacher feedback. The Unit followed four design principles: a) rich and varied exposure to complex controversial content to promote argumentation; b) explicit links between concepts in texts to facilitate comprehension; c) multiple opportunities for hands-on inquiry, teacher-led whole class discussions and student-led small-group discussions to deepen conceptual understanding and promote academic language use; and d) aligned with state science, social studies and English language arts standards.
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    The Evolutionary Causes and Consequences of Successful Asexuality in Tetrahymena ciliate
    (2017) Zhang, Hao; West, Joe; Zufall, Rebecca A.; Azevedo, Ricardo B. R.
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    Radially Collapsible Endotracheal Tube
    (2017) Anderson, Erin; Infante, Ronal; Peterson, Corin; Sampson, Lisa
    THE PROBLEM - 51.7 million intubations performed annually in the US. - 10.3% experience complications. - 5.3 million complications need to be addressed. We aim to ease the process of intubation and improve patient outcomes by reducing the diameter of the ETT to improve visibility. This project was completed with contributions from Erin Anderson, Corin Peterson, and Lisa Sampson from the Department of Bioengineering, Rice University.
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    Marking and Meaning
    (2017) Witucki, Derek
    Arboretum: the inner loop trail is an interpretive sound map of a trail in the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. It is a form of cognitive map that combines methods from the visual arts to diagrammatically represent the acoustic qualities of the environment. Beneath the surface of the map's specific details is a conversation about abstraction and iteration in graphic design practice.
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    Energy Aware Routing of Web Requests in Hybrid Cloud
    (2017) Velusamy, Gandhimathi; Lent, Ricardo; Subhlok, Jaspal
    Normally the application services are deployed as web services on the cloud for scalability and fault tolerance. We propose to use an autonomous intelligent global load balancer (IGLB) to distribute the requests across redundant clusters in an energy efficient way without compromising quality of service.
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    Electroless Atomic Layer Deposition of Pt on Cu Nanowires
    (2017) Solanki, Dhaivat J.; Brankovic, Stanko R.
    Pt is a material widely used as a catalyst in many areas of chemical synthesis and energy conversion and as a protective layer and etch stop barrier in the semiconductor industry. Due to high surface free energy, Pt exhibits a rough 3D growth (Volmer – Weber) mode. This represents a challenge when ultrathin and conformal layers of Pt are needed. The electroless ALD process presented here enables uniform and selective deposition of Pt on micro patterned Cu structures/wires on Si and SiO2, offering an opportunity for simplified integration into more complex fabrication routes currently used in semiconductor fabs. Outline of the process: Pt is deposited on Cu lines by surface limited redox replacement (SLRR). Monolayer of Pb is deposited on Cu/Pt using an ‘electro-less’ approach utilizing V2/3+ redox couple. Pb monolayer on Cu/Pt serves as a reducing agent for Pt deposition (self-limited to 1 ML).
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    Effects of Pyriproxyfen Exposure on Nervous System Develpment in Zebrafish
    (2017) Thrikawala, Savini; Gustafsson, Jan-Åke; Bondesson, Maria
    Pyriproxyfen is used in agricultural and veterinary pests. It is also used to treat drinking water sources, to prevent mosquito breeding. Therefore, it is debated that pyriproxyfen treated water consumption can cause microcephaly in newborns. We aimed to study the effect of pyriproxyfen on nervous system development, and whether it can cause brain effects. This project was completed with contributions from Maria Bondesson from Intelligent Systems Engineering, Indiana University.
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    Analysis of the Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Infection
    (2017) Stolley, Danielle L.; May, Elebeoba E.
    Spatio-temporal dynamics are vital in understanding the course of infection, particularly for infections that lead to the formation of granulomas such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis which significantly impact the course of infection. In in vitro studies, the observable data is gathered at the global environment level (a single well), but this lacks the correlation and relationship between an individual cell, its local neighborhood and its global environment. Traditional 2D models of infection allow for easily replication and rapid sampling but, devoid of an extracellular matrix (ECM) are unable to fully replicate the spatial dynamics of an in vivo system. In vivo models, while providing multi-cellular response and spatial dynamics do not allow the freedom of sampling granted in vitro. We aim to develop corresponding in vitro and in silico platforms to adequately capture and analyze the multidimensional nature of immune response to infection. By connecting the in vitro and in silico platforms with confocal imaging, we are able to observe, quantify, and correlate cellular behaviors on all levels and determine the characterizes that lead to different outcomes of infection.
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    Human Muscle-Specific A-Kinase Anchoring Protein (mAKAP) Polymorphisms: Mechanistic Role in Cardiovascular Diseases
    (2017) Suryavanshi, Santosh; Anderson, Kody; Jadhav, Shweta; Lichtarge, Olivier; McConnell, Bradley K.
    mAKAP polymorphisms may pre-dispose humans to CVDs by altering cAMP/PKA signaling in the heart. PKA-mAKAP interaction modulators can be developed as therapeutic target to augment current treatment of CVDs. This project was completed with contributions from Alexei Degterev from the Department of Developmental, Molecular and Chemical Biology, School of Medicine, Tufts University, Boston.
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    Material Decomposition Using Multi-Energy Imaging with Photon Counting Detectors
    (2017) Torrico, Raul; Fredette, Nathaniel; Das, Mini
    The current screening tool for breast cancer is digital mammography (DM). DM is based on the principle that x-ray photons are absorbed by materials differently. Breast cancer screening relies on the detection of tumors and micro calcifications. One of the primary challenges in breast imaging is to differentiate healthy, glandular and adipose, versus unhealthy tissues in the breast. Certain plastics can be used as a substitute to mimic the x-ray absorption of breast tissue. Micro calcifications can be replaced with hydroxyapatite (HA). To improve diagnosis, contrast agents, like iodine, could be used in DM. Iodine is injected intravenously and the tumor will temporarily absorb it. Dual energy subtraction techniques are used for enhanced iodine contrast imaging. In order to separate iodine from calcification, multi-energy imaging is desired. Multi-energy imaging is the acquisition of three or more different images at different energies. This data can be used for material decomposition where the distribution of each of the materials is found simultaneously.
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    Characterization of the Pro-Survival Role of Kinase-Independent EGFR in Cancer
    (2017) Srivastava, Shivangi; Katreddy, Rajashekara; Thomas, Rintu; Zhang, Weihua
    EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor), a receptor tyrosine kinase is overexpressed or mutated in a variety of tumors of epithelial origin. Although, its kinase activity is well characterized and is being targeted in the clinic, still patients develop resistance and stop responding to TKIs. Therefore, there is a need to understand the kinase-independent functions of EGFR and how it can be clinically targeted. Here, I describe the work that tests the hypothesis that EGFR independent of its tyrosine kinase activity mediates survival of cancer cells under various physiological stresses and thereby promoting resistance against TKIs.
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    Flavin Homeostasis in the Mouse Retina During Aging and Diabetes as a Marker for Retina Health
    (2017) Sinha, Tirthankar; Al-Ubaidi, Muayyad R.; Naash, Muna I.
    Nutritive and therapeutic intervention to restore the retina energy metabolism can lead to delayed onset and progression of blindness because of aging and type I and II diabetes.