Student Creative Arts and Research Symposium | 2021

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    Combating World Issues with Lab Grown Food
    (2021) Grimaldi, Karla G.; Canales, Natalie; Wilson, TaMia; Miles, Jaelyn; Short, Grace
    As we face issues such as world hunger and a debilitating environment, new solutions such as lab-grown foods have offered an opportunity to combat these issues. What are lab grown foods? Lab grown food is flesh grown outside of an animal’s body. Because the cells that are made to create the food are not always modified, they are not considered a GMO. Lab grown food is more eco-friendly compared to regular meat and dairy as it eliminates the need for livestock. This new solution created in order to combat consumption issues provides many new job opportunities and is an environmentally friendly option that may provide food to those around the world struggling in poverty or hunger. Because of these reasons, lab-grown has created an opportunity to end hunger and grow as we grow. With research, integrating lab grown foods could aid in solving some of our food-consumption issues.
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    The Leakage of Pigments and Dyes from Plastic and Microplastic Pollution
    (2021) Ramos, Tatyiana; Lopez, Christian; Beatty, John; Salazar, Gustavo
    The creation and industrial development of plastics in the 20th century have revolutionized our lives with its vast and versatile applications. However, plastics have also brought us a concomitant pollution due to their sturdiness and slow degradability; additionally, the large usage of disposable plastic products continues to grow worldwide aggravating the plastic pollution problem, particularly in marine and freshwater. While plenty of efforts exits to investigate and remediate macro- (> 25 mm) meso- (5-25 mm) and microplastics (< 5 mm) pollution from natural environments, less attention has been placed to the faith of pigments and dyes present in all colored plastic debris. Thus, this poster presents an overview on the latest studies and analysis on the decoloring of colored plastics.
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    The Importance of Studying the Evolution and Inclusion of Women in STEM
    (2021) Rehan, Madiha; Peters, Gracie; Ramirez, Maria
    The shift in society’s recent expectations of the culture in the workforce, has allowed women in the STEM fields to be recognized and be a part of. With an increase of women pursuing careers overall, it’s no longer holding them back from entering various STEM fields. This analysis will discuss society’s previous views on women in the STEM fields and the factors that influenced these views. We’ll be focusing on women during the Industrial Revolution, World War I and World War II, Space Exploration of the ’50’s and 60’s, and the medical field during the late 1800’s. The core of our research will be dependent on online scholarly and journalistic articles. By the end of this analysis, there should be an understanding of how women entering the STEM fields has positively impacted previous cultural and gender norms, and recognize that these changes can facilitate future improvements in the STEM fields.
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    Purification of Human γ-Glutamylcysteine Ligase Catalytic Subunit (GCLC)
    (2021) Ricketts, Daniel; Haynes, Lindsey; Martinez, Secilia; Domfe, Jennifer; Conrad-Webb, Heather; Anderson, Mary E; Anderson, Mary
    Glutathione (GSH; L-γ-glutamyl-L-cysteinylglycine), an intracellular antioxidant, has multiple important roles including, cellular protection against reactive oxygen species, oxidative stress, and toxic compounds. Low GSH is associated with a number of diseases. Biosynthesis of GSH is catalyzed by two ATP-dependent enzymes, γ-Glutamylcysteine ligase (GCL) and glutathione synthetase. While these enzyme’s activities are known, their regulation are not well understood, in part because of difficulty in purification, especially of the catalytic subunit of GCL (GCLC). Our goal is to improve purification of human GCLC, by modifying chromatography and induction parameters (i.e. temperature of induction, time of induction and/or amount of inducing agent.) so GSH synthesis can be studied. Supported by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Welch Grant.
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    Overview of the Use of Brine Solutions for the Final Extraction of Microplastics Found in Soil
    (2021) Roma, Rebecca; Hollins, Caris
    The study of microplastics in the environment has become a hot area of research due to the growing concern regarding their–still unclear–human health effect(s). Currently, there are active efforts to collect, analyze and quantify microplastics found in water, air, and soil. However, there is still plenty of work to do to standardize the current field and laboratory methodologies. Furthermore, research on the extraction of microplastics from soil is far behind, compared to water and air, due to soils’ intrinsic complexity. In fact, one key step in the extraction of microplastics from soil is a density separation using brine solutions. Unfortunately, there is still a scarce standardization in the selection and reusability of such solutions. Here, we report an update on the current state of research regarding brine, and other solutions, employed to separate microplastics from soil samples for final analysis.
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    Viral News: the Spread of the Spanish Flu and the Media that Covered It
    (2021) Romo, Lizbeth; Dovalina, Mia
    The 1918 influenza pandemic was one of the most severe outbreaks in history; it affected an estimated 500 million people across the globe. In many places, the emergence of the flu was accompanied by cover-up stories until its rapid spread could no longer be denied. How did U.S. and international media coverage, or lack thereof, of what was often called the Spanish Flu, influence the reactions of the public? How does the spread of the news reflect the tendency of people and governments to associate a virus to foreign countries? We will explore these questions using primary sources such as newspaper ads and articles from the TWU archives as well as some secondary sources on the subject.
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    Building a butterfly garden pollen database and its practical application to the plant-pollinator studies
    (2021) Rumpa, Mafia Mahabub; Maier, Camelia
    Pollination is a mutually beneficial process for both plants and pollinators. Plants provide pollen, nectar, and other feeding and nesting resources to pollinators. Most crops are pollinated by multiple pollinators including species of bees, butterflies, beetles, flies, and others. TWU had initiated native plant butterfly gardens to attract and sustain pollinators such as Monarchs and many other butterflies, bees, and native bumblebees whose populations are in decline. The goal of this project is to study the plant-pollinator relationships. The objectives are to build 1) a database of pollen morphologies using microscopy techniques and 2) a network of native plant-pollinator relationships. Scanning electron microscopy of pollen collected from garden plants and pollinators will serve the purpose. This research will offer data for restoration and conservation activities as well as advice to gardeners and farmers on plant resources they need to enhance both the pollinator populations and crop yields.
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    Sex Differences in Learned Helplessness and Blood Plasma Corticosterone in a Rat Model of Sub-chronic Stress
    (2021) Santos, Natalia; Cantu, Daisy; Averitt, Dayna L.
    Psychological stress affects women more when compared to men. Despite this, there are limited studies investigating stress and underlying sexual dimorphisms. Therefore, our objectives were 1) to determine whether there are any sex differences in immobile behavior (a measure of learned helplessness) during the forced swim test (FST; a model of sub-chronic stress), and 2) to compare corticosterone levels in male vs female rats. Immobility times were measured after exposing all rats to FST or sham conditions. All rats were sacrificed, and blood was then collected. Plasma corticosterone levels were analyzed via ELISA. Our results indicate that after exposure to the FST, immobility time increases in males and females. However, females have greater immobility times. Our preliminary data indicates similar corticosterone levels. Altogether, we can conclude that male and female rats are stressed after FST exposure, however, female rats are stressed to a greater degree when compared to male rats.
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    Effectiveness of Video Modeling as an Intervention for Teaching Activities of Daily Living Skills to Students with Intellectual Disabilities: A Systematic Review
    (2021) Sefah, Emmanuel
    Objective: Many studies have evaluated the effectiveness of video modeling in teaching daily living skills to students with disabilities, with a few focused-on students with intellectual disabilities without a comorbid condition. This study reviews three studies that used video modeling as a stand-alone intervention to teach students with intellectual disabilities without a secondary disability daily living skills. Method: Academic Search Complete, Educational Resource Center, APA PsycInfo, and MEDLINE database were searched to identify publications from 2010 to Sept 2020. Results: Three studies were included in this review based on inclusion and exclusion criteria, which found video modeling effective in improving daily living skills activities. In all the three reviewed literature, the authors found video modeling to help students with their assigned task. Conclusion: Video modeling can be used as an instructional strategy to teach individuals with intellectual disabilities to perform a target task to live independently without caregiver support.
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    Barriers and Facilitators of Engaging Pregnant African American and Hispanic Women into Research
    (2021) Shanahan, Sierra; Woo, Jennifer
    African American and Hispanic pregnant women are underrepresented in research and at a higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes and of COVID-19 infection. The purpose of this study is to evaluate factors affecting pregnant African American and Hispanic women’s participation in research and assess social media as a recruitment tool, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods included creating a 63-item survey tool asking pregnant African American and Hispanic women about their perception of research in the midst of the pandemic. A total of 100 women were recruited through social media alone. Participants showed more interest in non-invasive studies. 94% reported they have access to COVID-19 testing. However, 75% do not have access to childcare and 57% do not have access to transportation. Results from this detail the barriers of recruiting pregnant African American and Hispanic women in research: lack of knowledge, limited access to resources, and concerns of safety during COVID-19.
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    Wartime Women: Army Women's Roles in Conflict Since 1942
    (2021) Sharon, Daniel; Rodgers, Jacob D.
    We’ve all heard of WW II"s “Rosie the Riveter” or maybe even “Wendy the Welder,” but how much do we really know about the role that military women have played during U.S. wartimes? Beginning in 1942, more than 150,000 women enlisted in the Women's Army Corps (WAC); however, their roles were limited. They served in supportive positions such as telephone operators, mechanics, nurses, and postal clerks. But as time went on, many military-minded women wanted a greater involvement in the Army. When and why did more careers open to these female soldiers? In what ways has having women in the U.S. Army during conflicts such as Vietnam, the Gulf, and Afghanistan impacted the results? Through the use of TWU's WAC sources, the U.S. Army's published records, and academic articles, we will be able to take a deeper look into the history of women’s post-1942 involvement in the U.S. Army.
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    Testing Blast & Blunt Trauma Forces on Complex Neural Networks In Cerebral Organoids
    (2021) Silvosa, Marc Joshua; Lybrand, Zane R.
    Understanding the brain’s response to mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) remains elusive. Repetitive mTBIs, for example, concussions, have been linked to neurodegeneration, microvascular changes, and neuroinflammation which suggests that they play a larger role in the development of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). In this study we are using human cerebral organoids to model repetitive mild brain injury. As a proof of concept experiment, we used a tabletop blast chamber to expose cerebral organoids to pressure forces experienced during mTBIs and characterized the response of brain tissue following exposure. Using extracellular electrophysiology, our current data set suggests that in response to blasts exposure, there is a decrease in organoid neuronal activity. We are planning to further characterize cortical brain properties of the organoids as well as neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. These results will help to establish an in vitro model of mTBIs using cerebral organoids.
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    Global chromatin compaction in response to ultraviolet radiation
    (2021) Sinha Roy, Rituparna; Kenning, Abigail; Abbas, Mohammad; Bergel, Michael
    Chromatin, the complex of DNA, associated proteins, and RNA has several levels of folding. Gene expression, DNA replication, and DNA repair are cellular functions dependent on unfolding compacted chromatin. This study aims to understand the relationship between UV radiation and the compaction level of chromatin within a cell. Large scale chromatin compaction after UV radiation was observed by a hybrid protein LacR-CFP tethered to a 256 tandemly repeated LacO DNA sequences integrated into the genome of NIH2/4 mouse embryonic fibroblasts. We further corroborated global chromatin compaction in human cervical cancer HeLa cells and in normal human epidermal melanocytes irradiated by UV-B, using two fluorescent dyes and we demonstrated that this compaction protects the DNA from further damage using immunostaining. We also have shown that UV-induced chromatin compaction is dependent on the influx of calcium ions into the nucleus. We currently plan to explore the pathway controlling the UV-induced calcium influx.
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    Education is Prevention
    (2021) Smith, Kaitlyn; Egan, Kara G.
    Children who are Deaf and hard of hearing are more vulnerable to abuse, so early education is essential. 48% of children who are Deaf or hard of hearing experience emotional abuse, 40% experienced physical abuse, and 31% experienced sexual abuse. In many cases, these children cannot recognize social cues and understand inappropriate behavior. These developmental barriers stop children from realizing why someone’s conduct may be problematic. That being said, we propose that schools host an individual safety class once a year for children who are Deaf or hard of hearing as they will have the opportunity to recognize what appropriate vs. inappropriate behaviors are and what they can be on the lookout for in situations. The information discussed in the session should introduce students to appropriate vocabulary, social scripts to respond to in challenging situations and discussion guides for parents in a written format.
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    Adolescent Expectations Regarding Disclosure: The School Counselor's Perspective
    (2021) Sohne, Kathryn
    Parental knowledge is a significant protective factor for adolescents associated with less engagement in antisocial and delinquent behavior, and lower levels of internalizing and externalizing issues. Adolescent disclosure is the primary method of attaining parental knowledge, but parents and their offspring often experience a disconnect in communication during these formative years. This poster provides insight to better understand why an adolescent might choose to disclose to a school counselor rather than a parent, focusing on the adolescent’s expected responses to disclosure. The school counselor provides a unique and significant perspective because parents and adolescents often share information with a school counselor that they do not share with each other. The information provided in this poster is most helpful for parents, school counselors, and other family practitioners who would like to strengthen their communication with adolescents.
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    Anti-proliferative Effects of Lentinan, a Beta-glucan from Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes)
    (2021) Sombuor, Titus; Broughton, K. Shane; Bergel, Michael
    Cancer is one of the most significant health challenges worldwide. Lentinan, a betaglucan from shiitake mushroom, Lentinula edodes, has been demonstrated to have an inhibitory effect on selected cancer cells but results are inconclusive. The aim of the present study was to investigate the anti-proliferative effect of lentinan on breast adenocarcinoma cells (MCF-7), prostate carcinoma (DU-145) and ovarian carcinoma (SKOV3) using MTS assay, and explore possible mechanisms of action of this compound. Treatment of DU-145 cells with different doses of lentinan resulted in up to a 42% inhibition in cell growth. In SKOV3 cells, lower doses of lentinan promoted cell proliferation by 170% – 250%, however 1.6 mg/ml inhibited cell proliferation significantly. In the MCF-7 cells that were used as a positive control, Lentinan inhibited growth by 94.3%. Our findings suggest that the ability of lentinan to inhibit or induce cancer cell proliferation depends on the type of carcinoma.
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    The Cost of Isolation: Moral Distress in Critical Care Nursing during COVID-19
    (2021) Soteres, Bethany
    Critical care (ICU) nurses caring for patients diagnosed with the novel coronavirus (COVID- 19) are at risk of facing emotional challenges in the clinical setting. These challenges have led to discussions regarding moral distress. With IRB approval, the Measure of Moral Distress—Healthcare Professionals (MMDHP) survey will be provided to ICU nurses in the Dallas area to evaluate the level and frequency of moral distress in daily practice. Using the conceptual framework, the Wilkinson Equation Model of Moral Distress, this study aims to determine if ICU nurses experience moral distress in the context of COVID-19 and if there is a correlation between levels of moral distress, job retention, and demographic information. The data gleaned from this study, entitled, The Cost of Isolation: Moral Distress in Critical Care Nurses During COVID-19, will provide insight into the presence of moral distress and ultimately lead to strategies to improve the welfare of ICU nurses.
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    Modeling COVID-19 in Italy
    (2021) Sullivan, Kevin
    Six SEIR models are considered in attempting to replicate the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy in the first quarter of 2020. The Excel models make a variety of assumptions, and modifications are assessed to determine which factors created the rise in cases. In each model, the discrete equation I(t) = I(t-1) +1/ξ ∙ E(t-1) – 1/δ ∙ I(t-1) is used to compare how close the simulation got to the actual number of infected individuals at day 50, the peak of the initial outbreak. Modifications to the models and adjustments in parametric values enabled the simulations to closely replicate the actual number of cases. The models indicate that higher values of R0 than those documented in Wuhan, China may have driven case growth. The potential for asymptomatic spread, may have also contributed to the rapid rise of the number of infected in Italy. Future modeling considerations and limitations are also discussed.
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    Heterogeneity of Sensory Traits in ASD
    (2021) Sunil, Hannah; Johnson, Wendi L.; Johnson, Wendi L.
    Phenotypic differences of autistic traits are characterized in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The term, “spectrum” defines the heterogeneity of specific traits between developmental, social, behavioral, and cognitive deficits in ASD. Particularly, sensory processing atypicality is a heterogenic trait that presents a diverse range of sensory symptoms and behavioral responses to sensory stimuli. Neuroimaging studies identify aberrant sensory features in ASD, expressed by the type of sensory stimuli and behavioral response that share a relation to the expression of aberrant patterns on brain activity. Often the level of sensory severity in ASD is tied within the core symptoms of autism and are rarely viewed separately to assess the heterogeneity. Understanding the neurobiological implications on the heterogeneity of sensory traits in ASD gives rise to accurate clinical approaches and uncover the challenge of pre-evidencebased therapy techniques that are unable to account for this heterogeneity. A review of different ASD sensory traits and responses are discussed to reveal the impact of targeted interventions
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    Effect of cmvIL-10 on human CXC-receptor 4 signaling
    (2021) Hina Tajuddin, Kiran; Spencer, Juliet V.
    Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous herpesvirus that establishes lifelong latency. HCMV uses viral proteins that imitate host signaling pathways. The HCMV gene UL111A encodes cmvIL-10, a homolog of human interleukin-10 (IL-10). IL-10 is an antiinflammatory cytokine with immunosuppressive functions. CmvIL-10 shares many of these functions, including enhancing signaling outcomes from human chemokine receptor CXCR4 towards its known ligand CXCL12. CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling is essential for developmental processes. CXCR4 has another natural ligand, extracellular ubiquitin (Ub), exerting a range of effects on immune responses and anti-inflammatory activities. To investigate whether cmvIL-10 augments signaling outcomes from Ub binding to CXCR4, human embryonic kidney (HEK-293) cells were treated with Ub in the presence or absence of cmvIL-10. Cell proliferation and migration were monitored using the Incucyte Live Cell Analysis System. Our results will determine if cmvIL-10 exerts control over Ub/CXCR4 pathway and will help clarify the immunomodulatory effects of HCMV on the host cell.