The Molding Melanin Magic mentorship program through TCU Pre-Health is geared to impact minority female student populations at the Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences (TABS) in Fort Worth. The program provides small group mentorship as high school students are paired with a college student in their area of interest. Along with mentorship, workshops are utilized as a method of increasing confidence, exposure, and overall knowledge about college and STEM careers. By coupling workshops and mentorship, the Molding Melanin Magic program seeks to encourage mentees to serve as mentors along their educational journey, and apply for college and professional school to pursue a career in STEM.
Author(s): Rima Abram Interdisciplinary Erica Kaminga Interdisciplinary Allison Regan Interdisciplinary Mariana Zollinger Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Jessica Alvarez Interdisciplinary
Location: Third Floor, Table 7, Position 2, 11:30-1:30
Crafts & Conversations was established to foster community among TCU students and the residents of a local retirement facility, Trinity Terrace. During monthly meetings, students and residents share their stories while collaborating on engaging craft activities, including murals, cross-stitching, snow globes, suncatchers, pillows, and upcycled terrariums. TCU students who volunteer in these monthly meetings build meaningful friendships, combat stereotypes against the elderly, and improve communication and leadership skills. In addition, each event opens with a performance by TCU music students, enabling them to cultivate their craft and share their talent. Even throughout the pandemic, Crafts & Conversations nurtured memories and connections through Zoom and masked in-person meetings. With a commitment to sustainability, this project will continue to enrich the lives of Trinity Terrace residents and provide dedicated student volunteers with opportunities to strengthen the Fort Worth community.
Mercy Clinic of Fort Worth is a free health clinic that provides care to the underserved population, largely comprised of uninsured adults, in south Fort Worth. Services at Mercy Clinic include wellness checkups, sick visits, and well-woman visits, as well as some dental procedures, labs, and prescription services. TCU students of the Pre-Health Professions Institute consistently volunteer at Mercy Clinic, and TCU’s relationship with Mercy Clinic has continued to grow especially with the new addition of TCU’s Burnett School of Medicine to the Fort Worth community. A current collaboration between Mercy Clinic and the Burnett School of Medicine is aimed at providing clinics for women to get well-women exams such as pap smears and breast exams. Funds provided by the Experiential Projects to Impact the Community (EPIC) Grant were used to assist with the cost of supplies, such as speculums and drape sheets, for these women’s clinics. The goals of this community project are to serve the Fort Worth community by providing Mercy Clinic with materials and volunteers, to emphasize the importance of women’s health and knowledge about it, and to grow TCU Pre-Health’s relationship with the Burnett School of Medicine and Mercy Clinic.
After-school programs can be highly beneficial to elementary school students. Pickleball With a Purpose is a weekly after-school program founded by TCU students with support from the Experiential Projects to Impact the Community (EPIC) committee. This program works with a local elementary school in Crowley Independent School District (CISD). Pickleball appeals to all ages because it can be picked up relatively quickly, regardless of skill level. As part of the program, pickleball was introduced to 4th and 5th graders at Meadowcreek Elementary by teaching a two-week clinic introducing foundational paddle skills during P.E. classes. Students in the after-school program engage in clinics, drills, and games to further develop their communication skills while fostering connections with mentors from TCU. The EPIC committee's funding and our partnership with the Selkirk Growth Program have allowed us to supply the elementary school with equipment such as nets, balls, and paddles. The purpose of the Meadowcreek Pickleball Club is to provide elementary school students with a safe environment where they can grow as individuals while learning a new sport.
Author(s): Cayla Prophater Interdisciplinary Christian Cargile Interdisciplinary Aimee Garibay Interdisciplinary Emma Graham Interdisciplinary Macyn Willingham Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Heidi Conrad Interdisciplinary
Location: Second Floor, Table 1, Position 2, 11:30-1:30
Even though they are completely preventable, cavities are the leading chronic childhood disease in America. The “New Smiles Drive” is a community outreach project with a mission to improve Fort Worth's oral hygiene knowledge and access to essential hygiene supplies. This project has provided dental supplies and hygiene education to the patients at the Mercy Clinic of Fort Worth. The donation of dental hygiene bags is instrumental in providing the materials necessary for quality health care. However, the donations are only half of the mission. Each donation bag includes a laminated education card containing detailed instructions on how to maintain good oral health as well as recommendations provided by Fort Worth dentists. The educational aspect of this project will leave a lasting impact on the community and teach the community essential oral hygiene care.
Swimming is a skill that is often assumed to be commonplace. However, in a study from 2017-2021, 411 children fatally drowned in Texas; 32 drownings were from Tarrant County (Texas Child Drowning Statistics). In 2019, 23 Tarrant County drowning deaths were among adults (Drowning in Tarrant County). Two community organizations, The Fort Worth Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Coalition (FWDPC) and the YMCA Fort Worth (YMCA FW), conduct dedicated summer programs to teach children and adults in-water and classroom-based water safety strategies. This grant project supports its community partners by advertising for/providing volunteers, which enables the accommodation of more participants per clinic. In addition, this grant project provided occupational health supplies (sunscreen and sunglasses) to their community partner to mitigate the prolonged sun exposure commonly faced by their volunteers. Through this project, TCU students have engaged with these organizations, supported their objectives, and directly improved drowning statistics within the Fort Worth community.
Author(s): Zach Rouseau Biology Grace Bobo Chemistry & Biochemistry Jack Bonnell Chemistry & Biochemistry Precious Castillo Chemistry & Biochemistry Audrey Dolt Biology Tatum Harvey Biology Lola Kouretas Chemistry & Biochemistry Christina Mantsorov Chemistry & Biochemistry Chie Nguyen Biology Kiet Nguyen Biology
Advisor(s): Kayla Green Chemistry & Biochemistry Heidi Conrad Chemistry & Biochemistry Julie Fry Chemistry & Biochemistry
Location: Basement, Table 5, Position 1, 11:30-1:30
Throughout history, it has been perceived that significant advancements in STEM have been a result of primarily white males’ accomplishments. To help correct this misconception on our campus, TCU Chemistry Club has initiated “TCU Jeopardy Game Night”. This is an initiative where students, staff, and organizations in STEM throughout the year get exposed to and educated on the accomplishments in the history of diverse groups underrepresented in STEM with an emphasis in chemistry through an engaging and interactive mechanism. This spring term, our organization will host a Jeopardy-style game night with trivia questions over the material presented and prizes purchased with the ACS DEIR Grant. This material serves as an incentive toward the ultimate goal of educating our campus population regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect for scientists who have not been acknowledged for their exceptional work.
Author(s): Maggie Tucker Interdisciplinary Molly Koca Interdisciplinary Jacqueline Leon Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Mathew Crawford Interdisciplinary
Location: Basement, Table 4, Position 2, 1:45-3:45
2020 we partner with Once Upon a Room. We partnered with Cook Children's Hospital to decorate rooms for children who will have an extended stay. Due to COVID-19, we could not continue with Once Upon a Room. In the 2021-2022 we created Bags of Joy and continued to partner with Cook Childrens Hospital. We provided holiday-themed goodie bags as well as welcome hygiene bags.
Background of the Community:
The community in which we are working with those under the age of 18 with poor health.
Our community partner is Anne Stankus and Megan Hodges, Child life specialist at Cook Children
Our community partners have communicated to us that there is a need for hygiene and essential items for the caregivers of a patient to receive when they are admitted to the hospital, so that they have to opportunity to stay with their child durning this time of need.
Another need that has been expressed to us has been for the hosting of events, like game nights.
We had hoped to continue to give hygiene bags and make a switch from goodie bags to hosting a game night.
This year we were to supply 36 welcome bags for Cook, host a game night, and donate 400 easter eggs for their annual easter egg hunt.
As this was our first year hosting a game night at Cook children, we struggled in the begging to find games and activities that would fit into the guidelines but in the end, we were able to make it a successful event and now we have ideas on ways to improve for next year.
We continue to have good feedback from our Cook Children's coordinator.
As two of our members are graduating we will still have one member who is an active student at TCU. Molly, our non-graduating member, will take over our EPIC grant.
Author(s): Jack Bonnell Interdisciplinary Grace Bobo Interdisciplinary Precious Castillo Interdisciplinary Traylin Cleveland Interdisciplinary Camryn Gloor Interdisciplinary Kelly Jaimes Interdisciplinary Ashlyn Laidman Interdisciplinary Christina Mantsorov Interdisciplinary Kiet Nguyen Interdisciplinary Kennedy Redmon Interdisciplinary Zach Rouseau Interdisciplinary George Weimer Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Kayla Green Chemistry & Biochemistry Jeffrey L. Coffer Chemistry & Biochemistry Heidi Conrad Chemistry & Biochemistry Julie Fry Chemistry & Biochemistry
Location: Second Floor, Table 8, Position 2, 11:30-1:30
K-12 curricula worldwide typically lack a strong emphasis on alternative energies, particularly solar and wind power. To counter this, the University of Cambridge has developed the “Power your School” initiative, a program where students learn to map their school and local area, predict where the best sites for solar panels may be on their campus, use scientific equipment accurately, record results, and make ideal recommendations based on their data. TCU Chemistry Club and the Coffer Research Lab have partnered with this initiative to help local elementary schools investigate the benefits of renewable energy, assist in calculating the financial benefits of solar panels over a span of multiple years, and most importantly - to help young students learn the basics of proper recording of scientific data. Through poster creation and its subsequent presentation, students also use design and oral communication skills to educate local officials (and beyond) into the benefits of investing in renewable energy. Methods and results of this project will be presented.
The transition from high school to college marks a significant life change and, as a result, could lead to changes in health behaviors, exercise, and stress levels. Physical activity can enhance self-confidence and collectivism, improve emotional states, decrease stress, aid in building relationships, and contributes to feelings of elation and satisfaction (Qu, 2020). Studies show lower levels of activity among college women, with Black women having greater risk of obesity than white women. (Ajibade, 2011). The effects of a lack of physical activity for college minority women pose more significant threats as they increase in age; this is especially notable with Black women, who present low activity levels compared to white and other minority women (Greaney et al., 2017).
4HerHealth aims to combat the prevalence of potential health-related risks by fostering a community that supports physical activity and wellness in minority college students’ lives. The program consists of biweekly activities that highlight various health-related activities such as TCU-instructed fitness classes, step challenges, cooking and nutrition classes, and study and stress-relieving sessions. Participants who expressed low activity levels before the program reported an increased drive to go to the gym and eat healthier. Overall, participants said the program was informative, well-rounded, and provided a safe space and community for minority women on campus.
Ajibade, P. B. (2011). Physical activity patterns by campus housing status among African American female college students. Journal of Black Studies, 42(4), 548–560. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021934710385116
Greaney, M. L., Askew, S., Wallington, S. F., Foley, P. B., Quintiliani, L. M., & Bennett, G. G. (2017). The effect of a weight gain prevention intervention on moderate-vigorous physical activity among black women: The shape program. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-017-0596-6
Qu, X. (2020). Empirical analysis of the influence of physical exercise on psychological stress of college students. Revista Argentina de Clinica Psicologica. https://doi.org/10.24205/03276716.2020.386
Mathematical modeling of viral kinetics can be used to gain further insight into the viral replication cycle and virus-host interactions. However, many of the virus dynamics models do not incorporate the cell-to-cell heterogeneity of virus yield or the time-dependent factor of virus replication. A recent study of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) kinetics in single BHK cells determined that both virus production rate and yield of virus particles varies widely between individual cells of the same cell population. Here we use the results of the previously mentioned study to determine the distribution that best describes the time course of viral production within the single cells. We determined a list of eight potential distributions that are commonly used in viral kinetics models to fit to each data set by minimizing the sum of squared residuals. The model of best fit for each individual cell was determined using Akaike’s Information Criterion (AICC ). Results of this study show that the distribution that best describes viral production varies from cell to cell. This finding could have further reaching implications for incorporating time-dependent viral production into a standard model of virus kinetics in order to better reproduce the diversity of viral replication that occurs over time within a population of cells.
After-school programs can provide a variety of opportunities for elementary school students. With support from the Experiential Projects to Impact the Community (EPIC) committee, we partnered with a local elementary school in the Crowley Independent School District (CISD) to start a pickleball program. Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in America. The sport combines elements from tennis, badminton, and table tennis. The sport is appealing to all ages because it is easy to play. We gauged students' interest by teaching pickleball twice a week during P.E. classes. The Meadowcreek Pickleball Club launched shortly after in January of 2022. Students meet weekly to participate in drills, games, and clinics. Funding from the EPIC grant and a partnership with the Selkirk Growth Program allowed us to supply the school with nets, balls, and paddles. The purpose of the Meadowcreek Elementary Pickleball Club is to provide a safe environment where fourth and fifth graders can build relationships, gain confidence, and learn new skills.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, White, Latino/a, and Black youth enter into STEM programs at their universities in virtually identical numbers. Unfortunately following the early years of admittance, this is where the previous trend takes a dramatic decline as Black and Hispanic students are more likely to switch out of this field at rates of 40% and 37%, respectively (Riegle-Crumb et al., 2019). These disparities within Black and Hispanic communities regarding retention rate in STEM can oftentimes be attributed to factors such as imposter syndrome, lack of educational resources, and a lack of guidance/mentorship during their undergraduate career– the latter being the main focal point of this study. The purpose of this research is to analyze the impact that mentoring programs have on minority high school students that are interested in pursuing a degree in the field of STEM. Pre- and Post-surveys were utilized during the 2020/2021 academic school year in order to accurately gauge the students’ confidence in the following: applying to STEM programs at their universities of interest, excelling once admitted, and the amount of support they have in doing so. Community Partners include two local high schools in the surrounding DFW metroplex where students are paired with TCU Undergraduates currently pursuing a degree in STEM. Ultimately the following research seeks to examine the effectiveness of mentoring programs in the removal of generational barriers that have historically prevented populations of first-generation, minority students from not only succeeding in institutions of higher education, but ultimately receiving a bachelor's degree within fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Author(s): Annemarie Thompson Interdisciplinary Rima Abram Interdisciplinary Gretel Jordan Interdisciplinary Allison Regan Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Jill Duncan Interdisciplinary
Location: Second Floor, Table 8, Position 2, 1:45-3:45
Separated from their families, many older Americans in assisted living facilities struggle with loneliness and social isolation. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this issue, for most facilities have restricted outside visitors due to safety concerns. With the help of the Experiential Projects to Impact the Community (EPIC) Grant, which provides up to $1,500 for a Pre-Health student-led project at TCU that promotes a culture of giving and serves a demonstrated need in the Fort Worth community, a monthly meeting, centered on a craft activity, entitled “Crafts and Conversations” was established at Trinity Terrace to foster community between students at TCU and the residents of a local retirement facility. Through monthly Zoom meetings during the height of the pandemic to masked in-person gatherings at Trinity Terrace, TCU undergraduate students and residents at Trinity Terrace could talk amongst each other while constructing a craft whether that be painting Halloween pumpkins or crafting a winter holiday snow globe. By volunteering in leading these crafts, TCU students have had the chance to build meaningful relationships, improve upon their communication skills in a group dynamic, and been able to address preconceived stereotypes about the elderly. Prior to each craft, each meeting opens with a musical performance that has allowed TCU undergraduate musicians to cultivate and share their craft as well. This project has helped give residents at Trinity Terrace an outlet for social connections through crafts and conversations. Through a commitment to sustainability, “Crafts and Conversations” with Trinity Terrace will endure as a lasting legacy through a crew of committed volunteers who have grown as student leaders by strengthening the Fort Worth community and enriching the lives of the residents at Trinity Terrace.
Author(s): Maggie Tucker Interdisciplinary Molly Koca Interdisciplinary Jacqueline Leon Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Mathew Crawford Interdisciplinary
Location: Basement, Table 1, Position 1, 11:30-1:30
The Pre-Health Peer Mentor EPIC grant program initiated our Once Upon a Room project to provide individual room decorations to patients at Cook Children. Due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we pivoted our goals by creating gift bags for patients and their families. These bags included gifts to make their stay better, from holiday bags including board games, toys, and other sensory items to welcome bags with hygiene supplies for parents. We have delivered approximately 45 bags in the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters and are set to deliver approximately 36 more in coming months. The gift bags have been a success with consistent and positive feedback from family and from Cook Children's Child Life department alike.
(Presentation is private)
This project will consist of designing an AI application. The application will use a deep learning algorithm able to take attendance of the class as students are joining the classroom. I will further expand the patent to recognize the individual students and measure their temperature. Furthermore, the system will classify different emotions during the lecture and give helpful feedback to the professors. This tool will assist with time management, as professors spend several minutes to take attendance, and it will act as an extra tool for the prevention of spreading COVID-19 and any new virus. The patent will further provide useful feedback for the improvement of lectures through emotion detection. An external camera will be used hand in hand with the Open-CV package in python that will allow us to detect the students and identify them. The students' temperature will be measured by an infrared forehead thermometer and welcome them in the class. The algorithm will be using cascade classifiers, and transfer learning. Data for the training process of the algorithm will be collected from volunteering TCU student subjects.
Author(s): Adrianna Price Biology Hannah Carey Chemistry & Biochemistry Lexi Goehring Chemistry & Biochemistry Taylor Gray Chemistry & Biochemistry Nicholas Henderson Chemistry & Biochemistry Filza Qureshi Psychology
Advisor(s): Heidi Conrad Chemistry & Biochemistry Julie Fry Chemistry & Biochemistry Kayla Green Chemistry & Biochemistry
Location: Session: 1; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 5
Professors and Texas Christian University Chemistry students collaborated with O.D. Wyatt High School faculty and students for the rewrite of laboratory experiments. This was done through the lens of green chemistry to best meet the needs of the school’s curriculum scope and sequence with a minimal budget. The primary focus was safety. Safer disposal of hazardous waste, the use of less hazardous chemicals, and a cleanup to provide a safe workspace. Following the redesign of the experiments with the implementation of green chemistry concepts, a thorough cleaning and reorganization of the high school’s storeroom took place. Excess chemicals were safely disposed of, an inventory system was adopted to track presence and location of the remaining chemicals, and all waste and recycling was properly discarded. At the end of this outreach program, O.D. Wyatt gained a revamped curriculum utilizing less hazardous materials, a green chemistry outlook, and a redesigned and safe storeroom. We TCU students gained practical experience redesigning laboratory protocols and adapting them to a green chemistry standard. Additionally, physically applying the techniques learned in the curriculum being taught is invaluable knowledge gained by many students involved. Furthermore, we have also gained the interpersonal communication skills required to simplify complicated concepts to an audience of high school students without scientific backgrounds. This outreach will have long-term positive effects on the high school. The students will be exposed to green chemistry principles and the faculty will see the ease with which green chemistry principles can be added and relished within their curriculum. This program will continue to impact O.D. Wyatt with long-term safety and cost efficiency tactics being employed.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive brain disorder and the most common form of dementia. The disease gradually destroys brain cells, leading to confusion, erratic behavior, and severe loss of memory. Alzheimer’s is eventually fatal, and no treatment or cure has been discovered. Researchers aim to better understand Alzheimer’s pathology through the use of a transgenic mouse model of AD, the 5xFAD mice. A previous study by Bonardi et al. (2011) has shown that another model of AD, the APP/PS1 mouse, exhibits a deficit in extinction learning before it displays a deficit in acquisition. We aim to determine if this same trend exists in 5xFAD mice, despite having more extensive genetic mutations. Learning will be assessed using the Contextual Fear Conditioning (CFC) paradigm, where the mice are introduced to an environmental context and experience a mild aversive stimulus. When reintroduced to the context 24 hours later, mice will freeze if they acquired a memory for the pairing of an aversive stimulus with the novel context. Freezing is an instinctive rodent fear response. After repeated trials of exposure to the environment in the absence of an aversive stimulus, the mice gradually freeze less. This is indicative of new learning of the environment no longer being paired with the stimulus, or extinction of the initial association. The 5xFAD mice typically exhibit impaired acquisition by 6 months of age as compared to wild type mice. The present study examined if the 5xFAD mice would display a deficit in extinction learning prior to this deficit in acquisition. Preliminary data indicate that 5xFAD mice, like APP/PS1 mice, show a deficit in memory extinction before they exhibit a loss of memory acquisition. Three-month old FAD mice extinguish more slowly than three-month old wild type mice, but show no difference in acquisition. This research is important because it indicates alternative cognitive measures may allow for earlier diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, such as AD.
It is estimated that 45% of people over the age of 85 in the U.S. suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterized by cognitive deficiencies and memory loss, have higher concentrations of amyloid plaques in brain tissue than patients without the disease. Abnormal levels of transition metal ions Fe, Zn, and Cu in brain tissue are associated with amyloid beta plaques and also have been shown to catalyze the generation of excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cause oxidative stress. The combination of the ROS generation and the amyloid plaque formation results in neurodegeneration, which ultimately causes the memory loss and ultimate death associated with Alzheimer’s. We have synthesized the compounds L2 and L4 which are designed to be chelating agents of metal ions and also scavengers of ROS. We hypothesize that due to their chelating properties and pyridol groups, L2 and L4 should reduce oxidative damage in neuronal cells by chelating metal ions and scavenging radicals. Furthermore, we hypothesize that due to its extra pyridol group, L4 will be a stronger antioxidant than L2. The cytotoxicity of the compounds was tested on HT-22 neuronal cells. Neuronal cells will be treated with BSO, a compound that induces formation of ROS, in the presence and absence of L2 and L4. If our hypothesis is correct, our compounds should reduce the oxidative damage induced by BSO, and L4 should be more effective at doing so than L2.
Author(s): Sofia Lopez Psychology Micah Eimerbrink Psychology Amy Hardy Biology Lauren Nakhleh Biology Kelsey Paulhus Biology Julia Peterman Psychology Morgan Thompson Biology Jordon White Psychology Austin Williams Biology
Advisor(s): Gary Boehm Psychology Michael Chumley Biology Meredith Curtis Biology
(Presentation is private)
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative condition in which beta-amyloid protein accumulates into plaques, and tau protein forms neurofibrillary tangles. In the past, our laboratory has shown that repeated inflammatory events increase beta-amyloid in the hippocampus of male C57BL6/J mice. We sought to determine the effect of a second exposure to the bacterial mimetic lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on beta amyloid accumulation. An initial round of seven, once daily LPS or sterile saline injections, was administered to male C57BL6/J adult mice. Fourteen days after the last injection, a second round of LPS or saline injections was given, followed by tissue collection and quantification of beta-amyloid levels in the hippocampus. The results showed that animals injected with two rounds of LPS had significantly lower levels of beta-amyloid accumulation than those animals injected with just a single round of LPS, although both groups had significantly higher levels of beta-amyloid than the saline control animals. These results suggest a reduced inflammatory response following a secondary exposure to LPS. More specifically, animals exposed to LPS for a second time showed significantly less central and peripheral inflammation four hours after LPS administration than animals with no prior exposure. In addition, increased levels of IgM and IgG were discovered in the mice with prior LPS exposure. This could indicate possible antibody production against LPS or beta-amyloid rather than tolerance of the LPS as a mechanism for the reduced inflammatory response. In order to establish whether this results in a life-long effect, we are currently exploring the impact of LPS administration in old age for mice who were exposed to LPS earlier in life.
With the increasing student population trend at TCU, parking on campus is equally increasing
in difficulty. Due to the limited campus space, expanding parking availability is not a feasible
solution. Spark is a smart parking system that monitors the status of each space in parking lots,
indicating the space’s occupancy status on an aerial “Google Maps” view of the parking lot in a
smartphone application and, potentially, a website. The application could be linked to the TCU
Single-Sign-On for increased security and to make it easier for TCU students, faculty, and staff
to save their parking preferences. Spark can measure the fill rate of individual lots, recommend
a time-to-leave to procure a parking spot, and even provide update notifications on the status
of the user’s preferred lots.
Author(s): Nick Baroni Interdisciplinary Micah Eimerbrink Psychology Kelsey Paulhus Biology Julia Peterman Psychology Morgan Thompson Biology Jordon White Psychology
Advisor(s): Gary Boehm Psychology
Influence of Isolation Stress on Aβ Production and Cognitive Function in 5xFAD mice Baroni, N. J.,1 Peterman, J. L.1, White, J. D.1, Eimerbrink, M. J.1, Paulhus, K. C.2, Thompson, M. A.2, Chumley, M. J.2 & Boehm G. W.1,
1Department of Psychology, Texas Christian University
2Department of Biology, Texas Christian University
Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that affects nearly 44 million people worldwide, and is increasing exponentially in prevalence. Thus, research into its causes and prevention is crucial. Transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease are often used to better study AD pathology. These mice have genetic mutations that result in heightened production of amyloid beta (Aβ), a pathological hallmark of AD. It has been well established that stress can influence AD pathology. This study investigates how isolation stress influences the production of amyloid beta in 5xFAD transgenic mice. In addition, we investigated whether isolation stress impacts cognition in the contextual fear conditioning (CFC) paradigm. The mice were group-housed or isolated for both 2 and 3 months, followed by cognitive testing and tissue collection. Specifically, we utilized histochemistry to examine Aβ plaque counts and an ELISA to examine soluble Aβ production. We found that isolated 5xFAD+ mice had significantly more amyloid beta plaques than group-housed animals. 5xFAD+ mice isolated for 3 months also displayed a cognitive deficit in contextual fear conditioning. All together, our results support the research that isolation stress influences Aβ production and cognitive function, and extends that to the 5xFAD transgenic mice.
Author(s): Alexa Calcagno Psychology Philip Crain Psychology Micah Eimerbrink Psychology Amy Hardy Biology Kelsey Paulhus Biology Julia Peterman Psychology Morgan Thompson Biology Jordon White Psychology
Advisor(s): Gary Boehm Psychology Michael Chumley Biology
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease currently affecting about 5.5 million Americans, and the number of people affected may rise as high as 16 million by 2050. Characteristic AD pathology of deteriorating cognitive function is correlated with neurofibrillary tangles of tau protein and Amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques. Aβ is a peptide resulting from cleavage of the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) primarily present within neuronal cell membranes. The Aβ peptide can be cleaved at different lengths, but Aβ1-42 is the most neurotoxic. Aβ1-42 primarily aggregates in the hippocampus, where it further stimulates the release of cytokine proteins initiating an inflammatory response. Previous studies in our lab have shown that short-term inflammation induced by injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) leads to an inflammatory response that stimulates production of Aβ1-42 peptides. The goal of this project was to determine whether this effect could be exacerbated through a second injection series of LPS after a fourteen-day recovery interval, thus modeling multiple, independent, bacterial infections, like that seen in humans. The animals were given 7 days of 250 mg/kg LPS or saline injections, a two-week break, and another 7 days of LPS or saline. Contrary to what was predicted, Aβ levels were not potentiated. This effect was found to be related to decreased inflammatory response upon secondary administration of LPS, as IL-1β mRNA was significantly lower in the group that got two rounds of LPS. Current studies of our lab are evaluating whether these results are related to the presence of antibodies to LPS or a specific tolerance mechanism.
The challenge of taking care of aged patients who lost control of their bladders and bowel movements is to respond to the patients’ needs in a timely manner, which often requires a caretaker (e.g. a family member or a hired assistant) to stay on watch 24/7. In light of advance in cloud computing, we present a real-time low-cost monitoring and notification system that can continuously monitor the patients bedding condition, detect the conditions that help is needed and notify the care-takers. The system consists of TI SensorTags, Raspberry Pis, and IBM Bluemix. The TI SensorTag is a sensing device, while Raspberry Pi acts as a messenger receiving data collected by TI SensorTags via Bluetooth technology and transmitting the data to Bluemix, a cloud-based platform developed by IBM, via WiFi.
The system frequently senses bedding conditions of patients. Data is uploaded to a server residing on IBM Cloud, which processes data and sends appropriate notifications. The availability of cloud technology and small signal processing units, as well as advance in sensor technologies, allow us to build a low-cost system that can help caregivers address the patients’ needs effectively. As a result, the quality of care for patients is improved.