Sixty-eight CSU undergraduate students had the opportunity to work on research projects with faculty mentors during Summer 2014. Fifty-seven proposals were received from five colleges with requests totaling $460,754. With the generous support of the Provost's office, 33 proposals were funded across 16 departments for a total of $249,838. The Fall 2014 Undergraduate Research Poster Session took place on September 4, 2014 from 10am - 2pm in the Student Center Atrium. Students, faculty, and staff were invited to attend the poster session, which provided students the opportunity to discuss their research with the CSU community.
Sarah Mosley, Katrina Tomc, Danielle Tracy, Kaala Walker, and Cheryl Bracken
Among US public health concerns, smoking remains a significant target for intervention. However, teen and young adult users appear to be adopting different preferences and patterns of smoking than prior generations. Little cigar and cigarillo (LCC) use is rapidly expanding among this age group. Depictions of LCC product use are highly prevalent on social media, a preferred and ubiquitous channel of communication among young people. The purpose of the study is to identify and examine primary themes and message attributes of posted LCC behaviors and messages on social media – and specifically on Instagram. A quantitative content analysis was conducted to describe the profiles of Instagram users posting LCC – related images and the content of the posted images. The coded sample included more than 2000 images which were randomly selected to represent each of the four brands. Undergraduate coders were included in the creation of the coding scheme. The results identified the majority of Instagram users who posted LCC –related pictures as being young, white, males. The posted images feature LCC packages, partially smoked cigarillos, and blunts which are often posed for the photograph. The findings of this study will assist us in future prevention message creation.
Ali Naserallah, Valentinas Gruzdys, and Xue-Long Sun
Cell membrane plays critical cellular functions in both physiological and pathological pathways and thus is important target for both basic and applied biomedical research. The domain structure features of cell membrane strongly affect the functions of membrane embedded biomolecules such as proteins and carbohydrates. However, understanding the structural aspects of membrane effects on the embedded biomolecule’s function have not been able easily to do due to limited approaches available. We have engaged in fabrication of cell membrane mimetic systems for functional analysis of membrane proteins and cell surface carbohydrates [1,2]. Thrombomodulin (TM), an endothelial integral membrane protein, plays central roles in haemostatic balance by serving as a cofactor for thrombin-mediated protein C (PC) activation (antithrombotic) . The structure of TM and its structural domains necessary for PC activation has been clarified and reactions occur on endothelial cell membrane surfaces . Therefore, cell membrane may be involved in the protein C activation process. However, it is not conducted so far. In this research, we fabricate cell membrane mimetic systems containing TM and investigate the physiological significance of the lipid membrane on TM-enhanced PC activation mechanism. The proposed research will provide important information to understand the relative factors involved in PC activation and would offer opportunities to manipulate thrombotic disorders (antithrombotic versus prothrombotic) related to cardiovascular diseases. In addition, the cell membrane mimetic system can be used for examining binding interactions of other cell surface biomolecules such as carbohydrates and can be applied for drug screening applications as well.
Mofetoluwa Oluwasanmi, Greg Kliment, and Crystal M. Weyman
A subset of skeletal myoblasts undergo apoptosis rather than differentiation when cultured in differentiation media (DM: absence of growth factors). While the muscle regulatory transcription factor MyoD is known to control the process of differentiation, our lab has recently discovered that MyoD is also controlling the apoptotic process in response to culture in DM by direct up-regulation of the pro-apoptotic Bcl2 family member PUMA. We similarly discovered that MyoD plays a role in the increased expression of PUMA and apoptosis in response to the DNA damaging agent, etoposide. This led to the hypothesis that culture in DM may lead to stalled replication forks during DNA synthesis that are “recognized” as DNA damage. We are testing our hypothesis by determining if culture in DM results in the activation of pathways known to respond to DNA damage. We have determined that p38, p53, and c-abl are all up-regulated in response to culture in DM. Next, we will determine the significance of MyoD to the increased expression of these molecules.
Paul Orefice, Jane Peterson, and Bin Sun
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are a class of promising new multifunctional anticancer agents. These agents are able to affect multiple epigenetic changes in aberrant cells. In addition to regulating the gene expression and transcription via chromatin remodeling, HDAC inhibitors can also modulate a variety of cellular functions including proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Vorinostat (SuberAniloHydroxamic Acid, SAHA), the first HDAC inhibitor approved by FDA, inhibited the metastasis of various cancer cells. However, SAHA distributes in cancer tissue and normal tissue in a similar level. It will be ideal to selectively delivery SAHA into cancer cells. Rapidly growing cancer cells have a great need for cholesterol to generate new membranes. Increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-uptake by tumor cells has been found. LDL is the major cholesterol carrier in plasma and its uptake is mediated by the LDL-receptor (LDL-R), a glycoprotein overexpressed on the surface of cancer cells. Cholesterol can be used as a delivery agent to enhance anti-cancer drugs penetrating cancer cell membrane via LDL-R. Degradation of LDL particles by endosomal enzymes will result in the release of the conjugates to target cancer cells. Herein, we designed and synthesized SAHA cholesterol conjugate, and tested the anticancer activity of SAHA and its conjugate. The results suggest that cancer cells uptake more cholesterol SAHA conjugate when the culture medium does not contain LDL. Based on the information, we will design and generate artificial LDL containing SAHA cholesterol conjugate to enhance the drug delivery.
Michael G. Price, John P. Gavin, Eric Helm, James T. Cole, and Nolan Holland
Stimuli responsive self-assembling nanoparticles of elastin-like polypeptides are promising platforms for targeted drug delivery and release. These particles spontaneously assemble from elastin-like polypeptide building blocks in solution. The nanoparticles stably self-assemble under specific temperature, salt, and pH conditions and can dissociate upon changing of these conditions. With appropriate design, the surface of the particles can be decorated with labels that cause them to accumulate in specific diseased tissues. In addition, the size of the particles is appropriate to minimize undesirable rapid clearance from the body. In this study, we are testing the ability of the elastin-like polypeptide core to store and release drugs and model drugs with differing chemical properties. Three chemotherapeutic compounds were loaded into the core of the nanoparticles and the release profile of the drug was determined under conditions that disrupt the particle. This release was compared to baseline release profile of the drug. This study is important in establishing the ability of ELP based nanoparticles to act as triggered drug release vehicles.
Stephen A. Reeves, Mohammed S. Suleiman, Joshua M. Cmar, and Jorge E. Gatica
There is an increasing pressure to reduce waste generation and dependence upon fossil fuels in our society. The approach investigated in this project aims to address both concerns by formulating a low-temperature gasification process to process long-chain polymers typically found in municipal waste. Gasification routes which convert plastic and bio-waste into useful fuel syngas products has been extensively investigated. The novelty of the approach examined here consists on the use of a variety of catalysts, which can promote high conversion in gasification reactions at much lower temperature and pressure conditions. This route overcomes some of the financial and environmental shortcomings of typical gasification routes, such as incineration, currently in use as waste-management strategies. Utilizing a small batch reactor, the kinetics of several, predominantly polyethylene, waste simulants have been examined in the presence of both platinum and ruthenium-based catalysts. Using gas chromatography, the conversion of the carbon source was quantified and compared for the two different catalysts and different reaction conditions. Promising results were obtained, these results compare favorably with results found in the literature. A phenomenological model has been formulated to characterize the liquid phase gasification reactions and their interrelation with transport phenomena occurring in an heterogeneous reaction environment. Through the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), the effect of mixer speed on vortex shape has been modeled. These results are currently being incorporated into the model in the form of a detailed characterization of transport phenomena occurring during the gasification dynamics. Moreover, the refined model is anticipated to enable optimization of the reactor operation, and reducing or de-convoluting any transport limitation that may be affecting kinetic determinations.
Rafeeq I. Roberts, Terry Pieritz, and Russell Borski
The construction of polyfoam puppets for theatrical productions is a highly specialized art form and requires a process that is often learned via mentorships and apprenticeships. Limited learning materials and resources presently exist or are publicly available on the techniques for producing these complex and genre specific puppets. This project investigated and visually documented the creative process and craftsmanship in the creation of polyfoam puppets. Working collaboratively with an undergraduate student of film and digital media, theatre Faculty Designers created an instructional video presentation of the step by step stages of polyfoam puppetry construction. The resulting video documents the creative process in sequential chapters to use as a resource for theatre professionals, artisans, educators, and as a virtual learning tool for students.
Rafeeq Roberts and Kimberly Neuendorf
Media convergence has led content creators to produce narratives that stretch across platforms, known as Transmedia. A Transmedia narrative titled Dark Awakening was created using three different platforms: A short film, an interactive short story, and a text based role playing game. All of these share overlapping themes, characters, and settings. Each narrative platform was designed to be taken and understood on its own, or viewed in conjunction with the others. A study of audience response to the Transmedia experience of Dark Awakening has been planned. The conditions for the study include the order in which the media are consumed, and previous exposure to the media types will serve as a moderator. The participants will be randomly assigned either one, two, or all three of the narrative media types and then asked about their reactions to the created narrative world. We expect that exposure to a narrative unfolding across multiple platforms will result in greater narrative transportation, which in turn will lead to increased understanding, cognitive engagement, emotional reaction, and enjoyment within the viewer. We anticipate that a greater degree of attention will be required than traditionally has been found, and that identification/empathy with characters will moderate impacts.
Nick Ruffing and Ye Zhu
Smartphones have become the central communication and computing devices in our daily life because of their nearly ubiquitous Internet access through various communication capabilities such as WiFi, 3G, or even 4G networks, their user-friendly interfaces supporting touch and gesture based input, and their numerous applications and games. Operating system (OS) detection, the first step to launch security attacks on a target smartphone, enables an adversary to tailor attacks by exploiting the known vulnerabilities of the target system. We investigate OS identification against smartphones that use encrypted traffic. We evaluate the identification algorithms against collected smartphone traffic. The experiments results show that the algorithms can identify a smartphones OS accurately.
Shana Strunk, Courtney Perkins, Brandon Musarra, Megan O’Keefe, Katie Webb, Kenneth E. Sparks, Emily Kullman, and Eddie T.C. Lam
The elliptical cross trainer has become a popular a mode of exercise, but can only be used indoors. The StreetStrider was designed as an outdoor elliptical-bike. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to determine whether the elliptical or the StreetStrider was more enjoyable, and to compare the physiological variables for energy expenditure, heart rate (HR), VO2, and Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). METHODS: Thirty participants (15 male, 15 female, mean age=22±2) from Cleveland State University exercised for 20 minutes at 75% of their age predicted maximal heart rate on the StreetStrider and elliptical. Energy expenditure was measured with a COSMED K4b metabolic system. Participants’ RPE was recorded every five minutes using the Borg Scale for Rate of Perceived Exertion. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 18. A paired sample t-test compared physiological responses. A one-way ANOVA analyzed gender differences. A significance level of .05 was used to determine significance. RESULTS: No significant differences were shown in energy expenditure (p=.930), HR (p=.098), or in average RPE (p=.529) between the exercise trials. A preference survey concluded that most subjects found the StreetStrider more enjoyable than the elliptical. CONCLUSION: The StreetStrider is more enjoyable than the elliptical and as effective in energy expenditure, and could serve as a substitute for the elliptical.
Mohammed S. Suleiman, Stephen A. Reeves, and Jorge E. Gatica
Metformin Hydrochloride is an important pharmaceutical used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The current manufacturing of this product involves a well-known and proven process. The process includes the dissolution and reaction, followed by the precipitation of Metformin Hydrochloride. Although reliable and effective, the current process relies on the use of a solvent; which later needs to be eliminated from the precipitates. The purpose of this project is the investigation of an alternative reaction pathway which will avoid the use of solvents and simplify the final purification stage. The anticipated benefits include reduced costs for the processing and a final product which is closer to meet FDA and quality standards. These steps will eventually result in reducing the final market value of this important pharmaceutical. Preliminary experiments were conducted using micro and laboratory scale solvent-less reacting environments. These experiments allowed identifying the presence of a single chemical reaction. The characterization results suggest that the alternative pathway can successfully synthesize Metformin Hydrochloride. Further characterization and testing protocols are currently being formulated.
Measuring Activity of Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase and Nanodisc Complex through Nitrate Production
Christopher Verdi, Ghaith Altawallbeh, and Mekki Bayachou
Nitric oxide is an important bioregulator generated in various regions throughout the body by a family of isozymes referred to as Nitric Oxide Synthases (NOS). Within vascular endothelial cells, nitric oxide is generated from oxygen and arginine (amino acid) by endothelial nitric oxide synthases (eNOS). Within this environment nitric oxide plays a critical paracrine role, mainly anithrombotic and anti-atherosclerotic. This is accomplished by vessel dilation and prevention of platelet and leukocyte aggregation and adherence to the vessel wall. The activity of the eNOS enzyme has been studied within solution and is well understood. However, the impact that the lipid bilayer of endothelial cells has on the activity is not known. To better understand this interaction, we have formed “nanodiscs” to bind to the eNOS. Nanodiscs have two components that combine and self-assemble when added to solution, POPC (a lipid) and MSP1E3D1 (Membrane Scaffold Protein). The nanodiscs help provide a better microenvironment to study the enzyme and its activity. Through reaction with an indicator dye in the Griess reagent system, activity levels, as calculated by nitrate production, reduced dramatically. Over a 50% reduction was seen when calculating specific activity of the eNOS enzyme when bound to nanodiscs. A possible indication that a lipid bilayer restricts activity of the eNOS enzyme.
Katie Webb, Brandon Musarra, Megan O’Keefe, Shana Strunk, Courtney Perkins, Kenneth E. Sparks, Emily Kullman, and Eddie T.C. Lam
Hypertension causes billions of deaths per year (Millar et al., 2013). The Zona PlusTM is an expensive tool designed to lower blood pressure (BP) using isometric exercise. This exercise may be achieved using a less expensive Handgrip Dynamometer. PURPOSE: The purpose of this research is to determine if the Zona or Handgrip Dynamometer is more efficient at lowering BP and most cost effective for patients. METHODS: Twenty subjects used the Zona and twenty subjects used the dynamometer three times per week for six weeks. BP was taken once per week prior to the treatment. A maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) was recorded for each hand before every treatment. Participants were required to hold the handgrip at 30% of their MVC for four two-minute contractions. A paired samples T test was used to analyze changes in participants’ BP. A one-way ANOVA was used to compare the BP changes between the Zona and the Handgrip. RESULTS: The results indicated no significant changes in participants’ pre- and post- treatment after training when using the Zona for either stolic (p=0.225) or diastolic BP (p=1.000). There was also no significant difference in participants’ post treatment systolic BP (p=0.199), however, the post treatment for diastolic increased significantly (p=0.027 BP between those that used the Zona PlusTM and Handgrip Dynamometer. CONCLUSION: Though the Dynamometer is more cost efficient, neither the Zona nor the Dynamometer resulted in lowered BP.
Margret B. White and Anne Su
Previous research indicates that there are asymmetries in limb bone structure and dimensions. It is hypothesized that these asymmetries are the result of hand preference, or repeated unilateral mechanical loading. The aim of this study was to first identify the best skeletal indicators of handedness by means of a comprehensive literature search. Based on the previous findings of other researchers, we examined non-pathological male individuals (N=19, aged 20-35) from the Hamann-Todd Skeletal Collection at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for asymmetry of paired second metacarpals, by measuring the difference between right and left diameters at mid-shaft. We also tested relationships between metacarpal diameter and age and weight. Results indicate that there is asymmetry, with right metacarpals being significantly thicker in diameter than left metacarpals. We found no relationship between absolute thickness and either age or weight. But we unexpectedly found an inverse relationship between asymmetry and weight. Similar to previous researchers, our results indicate noteworthy asymmetries that may be interpreted as the functional adaptation of the upper-limb bones, hinting at side preference.
Fan Wu, Jennifer Berkey, Joshua Hellsing, Nisha Thaker, and Bibo Li
Transmitted by the tsetse fly, Trypanosoma brucei is a protozoan parasite that causes sleeping sickness in human and nagana in cattle. While infecting the bloodstream and central nervous system, T. brucei evades the immune system by altering its major surface antigen, Variant Surface Glycoproteins (VSGs), which forms a thick coat on its cell membrane. The expression sites for VSGs are at the sub-telomeric regions of T. brucei chromosomes. Telomeres, DNA-protein complexes located at the end of chromosomes, provide chromosome stability by preventing degradation of the chromosome ends. The telomere complex also regulates the sub-telomeric VSG expression and switching in T. brucei. To eradicate T. brucei, further understanding of how the telomere complex regulates VSG expression and switching is needed. TbTIF2 (TRF-Interacting Factor 2), a telomere-specific protein, was discovered to be essential for cell viability and the suppression of VSG switching in T. brucei. To better understand the telomere complex and the mechanisms of TbTIF2 function, we have performed a yeast 2- hybrid screen and identified a number of proteins that may interact with TbTIF2. The goal of our current study is to validate the TbTIF2-interacting candidates. We have subcloned several promising TbTIF2-interacting factors. We are currently testing these candidates for their interaction with TbTIF2 using yeast 2-hybrid analysis.