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Scholars Week is a week-long showcase of academic pursuits and research among the academic departments. The week culminates in a university-wide Scholars Day Exposition held on the campus at Middle Tennessee State University. This event covers the scholarship conducted during the fall and spring semesters.Scholars Day showcases the same academic rigor as Scholars Week, but instead is a one day event showcasing the academic pursuits and research during the summer semester.
Browsing Scholars Week by Department "Biology"
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ItemDrug Discovery: Primary screening of Traditional Chinese Medicines for anti-cancer activity using high-throughput screening(Middle Tennessee State University, 2014-2-25) Ridings, Amy ; Altman, Elliot ; Gao, Iris ; BiologyTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been practiced in Asia for over two thousand years, however it has been mostly overlooked in drug discovery studies. Cancer is one the deadliest and most complicated diseases on the planet. Effective treatment usually involves highly toxic chemotherapies that reduce the patient s quality of life, and many cancers can develop resistance to currently available therapies. New drugs that eliminate these challenges are a must in order to treat cancer effectively. A handful of new drugs for cancer treatment such as Paclitaxel, Arsenic Trioxide and Camptothecin derivatives have come from the TCM vault, but there are thousands more remedies that have yet to be thoroughly studied as potential drugs for cancer treatment. The Tennessee Center for Botanical Medicine Research (TCBMR) has taken on the task of studying TCMs for their potential in the western drug market, and one of its goals is to find new drugs to fight cancer. One of the earliest steps in this process is primary screening, which involves in vitro testing of TCM extracts for cytotoxicity on lung and breast cancer cells and very low toxicity on healthy cells. Using a high-throughput screening technique and fluorescence indicator AlarmarBlue, the effectiveness of each extract sample can be characterized. High throughput screening will allow a large number of extracts and concentrations to be tested simultaneously. AlarmarBlue, which is initially blue in color will be converted to a highly fluorescent pink compound in the presence of viable cells. Completion of primary screening provides information needed for further study of promising extracts and advances them to the next step in the long process of drug discovery.
ItemAn Evolutionary Analysis of Membrane-Associated Guanylate Kinase Protein Family(Middle Tennessee State University, 2016) Carr, Ryan ; Deal, Heather ; Seipelt-Thiemann, Rebecca ; BiologyGene families come into being through gene and/or genome duplication followed by mutation over time which results in the evolutionarily-related genes having somewhat different nucleotides, amino acids, gene structure, and functions. The membrane-associated guanylate kinase protein family has twelve members in humans: DLG1, DLG2, DLG3, DLG4, CASK, MPP1, MPP2, MPP3, MPP4, MPP5, MPP6, and MPP7. This gene/protein family is characterized by the presence of three specific protein domains: PDZ, SH3, and GUK, all of which aid in protein-protein interactions. These proteins are known to interact with cytoskeletal proteins and also are involved in signal transduction. A characteristic member of this family is the DLG3 gene, is responsible for encoding a synapse associated protein (SAP102). The goal of this study was to better understand the evolutionary relationships among the protein/gene family members. To attain this goal, two evolutionary investigations were undertaken. First, phylogenetic trees, which are the traditional method of analysis, were constructed using the amino acids. This analysis indicated evidence for three distinct sub-groups: group A contained CASK, MPP1, MPP2, MPP6; group B contained MPP3, MPP4, MPP5, MPP7; and group C contained DLG 1, DLG2, DLG3, DLG4. Next, the phylogenetic relationship based on the exon structure was undertaken. Briefly, multiple alignments were combined exon boundary information to generate a visual map of similarities and differences in exon structure among the gene family members. This visualization and its comparison to the traditional phylogenetic analysis will be presented.
ItemFolate Effects on Lifespan of Saccharomyces cerevisiae(Middle Tennessee State University, 2016) Hicks, Alesha ; O'Connell, Kayla O'Connell ; Seipelt-Thiemann, Rebecca ; BiologyDietary effects on lifespan have been studied for many years. The most well-known is that calorie restriction can increase longevity in many species. Previous research has also implicated restriction of certain nutrients in increasing lifespan. Reduction of folate has increased lifespan in C. elegans, both by feeding worms folate-deficient diets and biochemically inhibiting folate synthesis. Based on this research, it was hypothesized that budding yeast that are genetically deficient in the folate biosynthesis pathway would have a greater longevity than the wild type yeast. To test this hypothesis, wild type and yeast mutant in one folate biosynthesis gene, ABZ1, were aged for six consecutive weeks in rich (folate-containing) and folate-deficient media and tested for chronological lifespan using a growth assay. Final results were compared by t test to detect differences in average growth. Overall, there was no difference in growth between the wild type and mutant, rejecting our hypothesis that the ABZ1 mutant strain would have greater longevity. In addition, both yeast strains grew equally well in rich and folate-deficient media, rejecting our hypothesis that the SC medium would allow greater longevity in both yeast species. Therefore, our results did not support those from previous research in C. elegans, which indicated that reduction of folate biosynthesis has increased lifespan. As these long growth assays can be subject to contamination, it will be absolutely necessary to replicate the experiment to confirm these results.
ItemIncidence and Thermal Biology of an Invasive Cladoceran, Daphnia lumholtzi(Middle Tennessee State University, 2014-2-25) Marcy-Quay, Jessica ; White, Jeffrey ; Pompilius, Melissa ; Fischer, Robert ; Fischer, Robert ; BiologyNearly every wetland and aquatic ecosystem in the U.S. is being impacted by non-indigenous species (NIS). Among these, the Southeast Atlantic-Gulf region has the greatest number of aquatic species introductions. In addition to documenting introductions and assessing their impacts, it is important to summarize the traits that characterize successful invaders. One NIS that is generating increasing interest is the subtropical zooplankton Daphnia lumholtzi, which has spread to aquatic systems throughout the US. Many studies have documented the success of D. lumholtzi in reservoirs and lakes, where high thermal tolerance allows it to exploit a vacant thermal niche. However, to date there has been limited characterization of its establishment in estuarine environments. The Alabama River delta offers a unique opportunity to investigate D. lumholtzi distribution compared to native species, as well as how thermal factors may affect its invasive potential in this ecosystem. We collected monthly zooplankton samples from 8 sites across the Alabama River delta system over a two-year period, which confirmed that D. lumholtzi has established a population in the estuary and is most often found during warmer summer months. We are currently conducting studies to determine how thermal factors affect its survival and life history characteristics in the estuary.
ItemA preliminary analysis of GK-12 graduate fellow classroom interactions on secondary students perceptions of science(Middle Tennessee State University, 2014-2-25) Lytle, Rachel ; Sadler, Kim ; Farone, Anthony ; Farone, Mary ; Rowell, Ginger ; Biology"The NSF GK-12 program at MTSU partners graduate students and high school teachers with biotechnology companies to promote STEM learning opportunities. Graduate Fellows spend one year in high school biology classrooms mentoring student research projects. The purpose of the study was to determine if introducing Graduate Fellows into high school science classrooms to engage with students during the year influences the students attitudes toward science. We hypothesize that implementing programs such as GK-12 may generate a positive perception of science and increase interest in pursuing a science career.