Poster Presentation and Abstract of Submissions-2016

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    An Evolutionary Analysis of Membrane-Associated Guanylate Kinase Protein Family
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2016) Carr, Ryan ; Deal, Heather ; Seipelt-Thiemann, Rebecca ; Biology
    Gene 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.
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    More Missing: Expanding content analysis in social work journals to include non-binary orientations and gender identities
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2016-04-01) Wilson, S. M. K. ; Social Work
    In 2002, Van Voorhis and Wagner published "Among the Missing: Content on Lesbian and Gay People in Social Work Journals". This study was a content analysis of four significant social work journals for the years 1988 - 1997, which identified articles that covered gay and lesbian issues and provided an overview of the themes and focuses of these articles. Pelts, Rolbiecki, and Albright repeated this study and analyzed the same journals (using similar criteria and additional analysis) covering the years 1998 - 2012. As of 2015, there was no comparable analysis of social work journals that looked at content applicable to orientations that are not specifically straight, gay, or lesbian, or gender identities that are not cis male or cis female. This purpose of this project was to find out the material available to social work students and professionals regarding this significant and underserved population. This project looked at the same significant social work journals as previous studies, covering the years 1998 - 2013, to identify articles that pertain to non-binary orientations and gender identities and to compile an overview of themes, focuses, and language in these articles. By establishing what material is available in current primary material we can define the extent of the existing literature gap and design research to fill in the missing pieces.
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    Alternative mRNA Splicing Analysis of DAF-2 During Hydrogen Peroxide Stress
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2015) Akter, Mahmuda ; Davis-Farrow, Paige ; Seipelt-Thiemann, Rebecca ; Chemistry
    Alternative mRNA splicing is a mechanism of regulating gene expression accomplished by varying which protein-coding sequences are included in the mature mRNA. It is known that various types of stress influence alternative splicing. Thus, the concentration, variety, and functionality of proteins produced in a cell and organism. DAF-2 is a gene whose protein functions in the insulin pathway in many organisms including the nematode, C. elegans. This pathway is known to be altered during the stress response. Our hypothesis was that nematodes will alternatively splice DAF-2 mRNA in the region encoding the tyrosine kinase domain (exons 10-13) upon exposure to the environmental stressor, hydrogen peroxide. To test this hypothesis, nematodes were grown under standard conditions, isolated, and exposed to either 20 mM H2O2 or diluent only. RNA was isolated and analyzed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The results were visualized following agarose gel electrophoresis. Four distinct and specific cDNA fragments were observed in the control sample indicating that the mRNA had been spliced in four different ways. Only one of these distinct and specific cDNA fragments was observed in stressed worms. This clearly indicated that alternative splicing had occurred due to the peroxide stress. The largest cDNA fragment is the size expected if all exons were included and thus the tyrosine kinase domain would be encoded. The smallest cDNA fragment is the size expected if exons 11 and 12 were skipped and thus the tyrosine kinase domain would be absent from the DAF-2 protein. The two middle size fragments were not predicted. These may represent skipping of exons 11 and 12 individually. Cloning and sequencing of the fragments should be done to confirm the identity of these assumptions. In addition, the experiment should also be performed with different peroxide concentrations and for varying times to analyze the kinetics and timing of alternative splicing in response to this stressor.
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    Pilot Study: A Survey of Middle and High School Choral, Band, and Orchestra Directors Regarding Professional Development of Musicianship Skills for Music Educators
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2016) Brown, Jessica J. ; McWhirter, Jamila L. ; Music
    Professional development is a key component of an educator’s journey in continuing to strengthen their teaching. For music educators, maintaining personal musicianship skills is vital for excellent instruction, yet there appears to be little professional development in maintaining those skills. The purpose of this research was to discover what types of professional development would benefit secondary music educator’s musicianship skills and by whom and how often this type of professional development should be offered. A brief online survey was sent out to middle and high school music educators who are members of either the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association or the Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association. The survey consisted of categorical ratings, ranking questions, multiple choice questions, and open-ended questions. The data are reported through frequencies and percentages. 100 percent of the educators expressed the belief that this type of professional development benefited their teaching. However, scheduling conflicts were the highest deterrents of the teacher’s ability to to attend this professional development. In addition, cost and location of the professional development also provided difficulties. Conducting, sight-reading, and improvising were ranked as the top skills sought out for professional development sessions. Through this pilot study, it may be concluded that music educators feel the need for a focus of personal musicianship through professional development. However, their perceptions of these opportunities are not offered often enough to meet their specific secondary music educator needs. In the future, it may be beneficial to study a larger sample of secondary music educators to corroborate the findings of this study.
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    The Impact of Adolescence Employment on Welfare Participation Later in Life
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2016) Mansour, Fady M.
    This study is the first to employ welfare participation to investigate the impact of working during adolescence on outcomes later in life. I use National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) 1979 data to investigate the impact of the average hours worked from age 14 through 19 on both the welfare payment and the probability of welfare participation in the twenties and thirties of the respondents’ life. I use a variety of different model specifications, including instrumental variables and Heckman selection models, to check the robustness of the results. The study shows that working one extra full-time week per year for an average individual between the ages of 14 to 19 will reduce the probability of receiving welfare in the twenties by 2.6 (10.8%) percentage points and the welfare payment received in the twenties by 6.3% per year. This impact is generated mainly from the hours worked during the ages of 17, 18 and 19.