Second Year Students Gianluca Arianna (Title Missing) In nanomedicine, nanoparticles are utilized for therapeutic strategies such as drug transport and sensitization. One widely studied nanoparticle is the porphyrin, an aromatic macrocycle, found naturally in hemoglobin and chlorophyll. Interactions of the electron orbitals along covalent bonding sites in the molecule give the porphyrin its enhanced optical properties and light absorption capabilities. Consequently, porphyrins have been frequently used for photodynamic therapy (PDT) as sensitizers. PDT is a method of cancer cell destruction in which cdells are destroyed by light radiation. Efficiency of PDT is increased by metallization of the porphyrins to enhance light absorption. Future studies will search for new methods to irradiate and functionalize porphyrins in order to increase their efficiency. Christine Berrios PKG Inhibitor Medication to Cease Chronic Pain Pain that persists longer than the natural course of healing for a particular type of injury or disease is also known as chronic pain. A protein known to be involved in sustained chronic pain is protein kinase G (PKG). Past research has demonstrated that PKG is a positive injury signal in sensory neurons and responds to both nerve injury and inflammation. PKG has also been shown to be a necessary element for the activation of long-term hyperexcitability (LTH) and for the perception of problems such as hyperalgesia and allodynia. Ongoing research has also shown PKG to be involved in long-term potentiation (LTP). By inhibiting PKG in sensory neurons, chronic pain should cease. Current research is aimed at finding a functional PKG inhibitor. Once identified, researchers plan to create a medication for those suffering from chronic pain and other related illnesses. In order to achieve this, researchers must first investigate if the medication reaches the cell. This project will utilize a cell based assay to accomplish this preliminary objective. Diana Capalbo Alzheimer’s Disease and Neuroinflammation Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) causes apoptosis in the brain and amyloid-beta plaque build up. Current research demonstrates that neuroinflammation is linked to the initiation and progression of AD. Minocycline is an anti-inflammatory drug, capable of increasing cognitive function in transgenic AD mice. The number of activated microglia also increases with the use of minocycline. DSP-4 is a molecule that can alter neuroinflammation through its reduction of noradrenalin (NA), a neurotransmitter in the CNS that can constrict blood vessels. Through administration of minocycline and DSP-4, neuroinflammation could be controlled. Future research will investigate CPG treatment ?????? could reduce amyloid plaque burden. This could lead to an efficient treatment for AD patients. Christina Casanova CCS is Not Essential in SOD1 FALS Mediation, While Overexpression in G93A-SOD1 Mice Leads to Accelerated Neurological Deficits (MUST CUT) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease, marked by the progressive degeneration of motor neurons within the Central Nervous System (CNS). While the cause of apoptotic neurons had been linked to atrophy, weakness, and fasculations, researchers then aimed to further investigate how gene expression of mutant superoxide dismutase (SOD1) would contribute to their degeneration. Responsible for destroying free superoxide radicals in the body, mutations in this gene have been implicated as the foundation for the familial form of this disease. Inside the nucleus of the motor neurons, mSOD1 tampers with DNA/RNA metabolism, and then accumulates and creates toxic radicals. A stress is thus created within the mitochondria, leading to excessive exotoxicity and apoptosis. Copper chaperone for SOD1 (CCS), although not found to play a role in the onset of ALS, is needed for copper incorporation into the cell. Its mechanisms have been an area of investigation in relationship to its role in superoxide expression. Further investigation of the underlying mitochondrial mechanisms of this mutation could lead to treatments that delay ALS progression. Jennifer Eng Visual Working Memory (EXPAND) Visual working memory (VWM) allows visual information to be retained after a stimulus has disappeared. VWM allows for the distinction of changing environments. The VWM system provides temporary storage and manipulation of information that is necessary for complex cognitive tasks such as language comprehension, learning, reasoning, and problem solving. Given its limited capacity, the VWM is able to retain only the most important information. Past studies have shown that this capacity could be affected by practice and learning. The familiarity with visual objects has been shown to have a limited effect on working memory performance. Future research will test the boundary conditions through which long-term familiarity enhances visual working memory performance and attempt to determine how different perceptual properties of visual stimuli such as their spatial-temporal and featured properties contribute to VWM capacity. Eric Lo Role of Spo11 Beta and Related Proteins in Recombination Meiosis Meiosis is the essential process required for diploid eukaryotic cells to generate gametes, or sex cells needed for sexual reproduction. Double-stranded breaks (DSB), a type of DNA damage that fractures the DNA strands, actually have been found to initiate meiosis in yeast cells and to propagate one of the hallmark features of this process, homologous recombination. Spo11 is one of the chief proteins that produce DSBs, but past studies have shown that only its Spo11 alpha units are directly involved in creating DSBs. Its beta units still have undocumented roles, potentially crucial ones. Future research hopes to incorporate the Spo11 beta protein into mice both to test its effects and to potentially discover hidden proteins with which it interacts. Marina Makarious Calcium-dependence of Agonist-induced Trafficking of Neuronal Calcium Channels Calcium influx through voltage-dependent calcium channels triggers the release of neurotransmitters. Mutations in these channels have been shown to lead to chronic migraines and epilepsy. G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are membrane proteins that transmit signals into the cell and help to regulate calcium influx into neurons by modulating calcium channel activity. It has been reported that GPCRs can modify the number of calcium channels in the membrane by controlling channel trafficking. These calcium sensor proteins include calmodulin and NCS-1. Future research will investigate the hypothesis that NCS-1 modulates channel activity through the regulation of its trafficking. Nicole Rebusi Study of the State of the Economy of the United States Using Gross State Products (GSP) in a Similarity Index. Economic development within the United States is not comparable in all states. Economic growth in the US is shown to generally progress from an economy dependent on raw goods to an economy that is dependent on manufactured goods. However, the final stage in the United States economic development does not rest on manufactured goods, but rather on services. The Similarity Index will show that all three stages of development currently exist in the United States and that economies move progressively through these stages. A similar study was attempted by the founder of the Similarity Index study. However, his study used the indicative income source. Given that income source is a volatile factor, this study in its future research will utilize the gross state product (GSP) to replace income source. GSP is a more reliable indicator, provided by the Bureau of Economics. An analysis of the top five, mid-five, and the bottom five states will be performed. The analysis is expected to confirm that the economic development in the US shifts its dependency consistently through the stages of natural resources manufacturing, and finally services. Krishan Sharma Using BMP-7 to Induce the Formation of Osseous Tissue from Skeletal Muscles as a New Alternative to Bone Grafting Over 800,000 bone grafting procedures are performed in the United States annually, creating a demand for viable alternatives to autogenous bone, the grafting standard in osseous repair. Bone morphogenetic protein-7 (BMP-7) has recently been discovered to cause the formation of osseous tissue from derived skeletal muscle cells. It has also been discovered, however, that BMP-7 exposure must occur in vivo, and thus require bioactive scaffolds as a medium. Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLAGA) is a scaffold that has been used heavily in tissue engineering due to its unique features. These include its biocompatibility, biodegradability, and osteoconductivity. Past research has delivered BMP-7 to muscle cells of various organisms via PLAGA to successfully induce mineralization. Future research will apply BMP-7 to cells in a controlled manner in an attempt to create new molars.