Intellectual disability (ID) is a genetic disorder characterized by limitations in intellectual capabilities, such as below-average cognitive functioning and deficiencies in social and practical skills, which affects 1-2% of the world population (Hu et al., 2015). A recent study by Houge et al. presented information on cases of ID that identified de novo missense mutations … [Read more…]
High case fatality rates are observed during sporadic Ebola virus outbreaks. Currently, elusive or not available is the Ebola reservoir host or any safe efficacious treatments. Bats, given their unique features, have been identified as one potential reservoir host, but why Ebola is highly virulent in some mammals and not in others is not well … [Read more…]
Over the summer of 2016, we developed and optimized procedures to synthesize a series of solvatochromatic dyes: MOED, MOEL, MeO-MOED, and MeO-MOEL. These dyes have vibrant colors that change depending on solvent, pH, and temperature. A series of different experiments were developed that demonstrated the various unique color-changing properties of each dye. The results are … [Read more…]
The purpose of this research was to analyze cellular growth and glucose metabolism of yeast in various environments as controlled by the TOR2 pathway. TOR2 is a central metabolic regulator involved in cellular growth and proliferation. TOR2 regulates protein synthesis by regulating translation and mediating early G1 progression of the cell cycle. TOR2 is involved … [Read more…]
BRAF V600E mutation has a significant association with tumor recurrences in patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), reducing survival rate from 98% to 40%. Patients treated with BRAF V600E inhibitors, such as vemurafenib, acquire resistance to the drug over time (6 months) and tumor cells metastasize to distant organs, leading to patient death. Within the … [Read more…]
Nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich-repeat-containing receptor 10 (Nlrp10) is an innate immune receptor. It belongs to a family of cytosolic receptors involved in the production and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines as well as cell migration.
Queen conch, Strombas gigas, is a large marine gastropod, indigenous to the The Bahamas and wider Caribbean. Queen conch populations support a substantial commercial fishery throughout the Caribbean region; however, populations have been severely depleted due to high human consumption demands.
Mitochondria are organelles that are the major source of ATP in aerobic metabolism in a cell. Mitochondria undergo processes of fusion and fission. A-Kinase Anchoring Protein 1 (AKAP1) is a mitochondrial protein that targets Protein Kinase A (PKA) to the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM).
Postpartum breast cancer is defined as breast cancer diagnosed within 5-10 years of a recent pregnancy. Mammary gland involution, or the regression of the gland to its pre-pregnant form after pregnancy/lactation, is a major physiological change within the breast that may account for increased breast cancer risk postpartum.
For the heart to contract properly, every heart cell must be triggered to contract by a transient increase in the intracellular concentration of calcium ions (Ca2+). This transient increase in Ca2+ is known as a “calcium signal”, and this signal is altered in essentially every cardiac disease.
As a summer Cornell Fellow at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, I synthesized a calcium indicator whose electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrum changes as a function of changes in calcium ion (Ca2+) concentration. Such an indicator would enable us to visualize Ca2+ signaling in living tissue (e.g., the heart) in an animal by … [Read more…]
Pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the lungs, is a progressive, fatal condition marked by narrowed pulmonary arteries and increased pulmonary arterial pressures, which lead to heart failure and death. Currently, few validated guidelines for treatment of pulmonary hypertension exist, and pulmonary hypertension patients require specialized care from expert physicians in regional centers. Developing … [Read more…]
Yeast (S. cerevisiae) are a relatively simple, ubiquitous, single-cell organism, like bacteria. However, unlike bacteria, yeast are eukaryotes, like humans. They also have some proteins that are similar to those found in humans. Some of the proteins are TOR proteins, which are responsible for many things, including resource partitioning. For this reason, TOR proteins influence … [Read more…]
An emerging counter to plant pathogens is biocontrol through antibiosis. This project aimed to discern how antibiotic production by Pseudomonas fluorescens PF-5 was affected in the presence of fungal metabolites extracted from two unknown fungi (F-12 and F-42). Antibiotics studied included 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol, monoacetylphloroglucinol, pyoluteorin and pyrrolnitrin.
Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), most commonly known as African sleeping sickness, is fatal if not treated, yet the currently available drugs must be given intravenously and are associated with significant toxicity risks. Pafuramidine maleate (DB289) is an orally bioavailable pro-drug developed to treat HAT. Pre-clinical trial data suggested promising oral efficacy and a potential for … [Read more…]
The evolutionary relationship of the Millepores in the Caribbean has been problematic for years. Taxonomic classification of these Millepores is based upon habitat and morphology. Two distinct morphologies, classified as separate species, have been recorded, but extensive phenotypic plasticity yields a large variety of intermediate morphologies that do not fit into the current taxonomic groupings.
The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is responsible for maintaining protein equilibrium and the degradation of damaged and misfolded proteins. Dysfunction of the UPS has been observed in cardiovascular diseases. Our lab has shown markedly decreased activity of proteasomes in failing hearts as compared to normal hearts.
Multiple myeloma (MM), a malignancy of plasma cells, accounts for ~13% of all hematological malignancies. Many genes have been identified in the pathogenesis of MM including interferon regulatory factor 4, IRF4, a proto-oncogene. IRF4 is a transcription factor activated by the NF-кB pathway and is a regulator of plasmacytic differentiation and cell cycle progression amongst … [Read more…]
2,5-Dialkylresorcinol (DAR) is a compound with both antifungal and antibiotic properties, and has the potential to be used in the biological control of plant pathogens. The gene cluster encoding for DAR has been identified in Pseudomonas chlororaphis strains 30-84 and O6, but these strains have not previously been shown to produce DAR.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), silver amalgams are used for posterior tooth restorations in more than 100 million Americans annually. However, the safety of using silver amalgams has been contested in the United States since 1840.
TRPM7 is one of many ion channels belonging to the family of Transient Receptor Potential proteins. The function of most of these proteins is not completely understood but current studies indicate roles ranging from sensation to neurodegeneration. TRPM7 is an unusual member of this family that plays a key role in the regulation of intracellular magnesium … [Read more…]
Natural Killer T-Cells (NKT cells) are a widely conserved T-Cell lineage in mammals. They have been regarded as the link between innate and adaptive immunity. They go through a developmental process very similar to that of normal T-cells but have an invariant T-Cell Receptor (TCR) that recognizes lipid antigens.
The evolutionary relationship of the Millepores in the Western Atlantic has been problematic for years. Current taxonomic distinction is based mainly upon morphological characters and habitat. Millepora complanta is found in shallower, more turbulent waters and is composed of sturdy blade-like colonies whereas M. alcicornis has delicate branching spires and inhabits deeper or more sheltered … [Read more…]
Biological control of plant pathogens has steadily grown in popularity over the past several decades as an alternative to the use of pesticides which negatively affects the environment. A problem in the use of biocontrol agents is the unpredictability of interactions they face once introduced to the soil, some of which impair the production of … [Read more…]
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease with no known cure. Presently, a portion of familial ALS cases can be linked to a mutation in the sod1 gene, which encodes the protein copper-zinc superoxide dismutase. In many ALS patients, aggregated proteins (amyloid) have been found in their … [Read more…]
Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is a technique that combines gas-liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to characterize substances within a sample. We first used this technique to analyze turtle nest volatiles to determine if turtle nest predators use olfactory cues to find nest sites.
Chronic migraines affect the lives of approximately 32 million Americans. Research is currently focused on investigating the relationship between electrical activity and the innate immune system in causing the progression of migraine.
The Raf/MEK/ERK pathway is one of the MAPK (Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase) pathways that control the cell cycle resulting in the meditation of cell growth, proliferation and differentiation. Paradoxically, the Raf/MEK/ERK pathway can also induce cell cycle arrest. How can the same pathway mediate these paradoxical cellular responses?
Pseudomonas fluorescens PF-5 is a strain of bacteria that is an effective bio-control agent and produces several disease suppressing metabolites. Our task was to develop a fungal library using a variety of methods to grow, isolate, and store the samples.
During the immune response, CD8+ T-cells are activated by an antigen presenting cell (APC) and undergo a rapid expansion producing cytotoxic T-cells as well as memory cells. Previously, it was found that the transcription factor ELF4 negatively regulates quiescence in naïve CD8+ T-cells. ELF4 does this by activating Klf4, a tumor suppressor gene, inducing cell … [Read more…]
Two morphologies of Millepora, currently classified as separate species, exist in the Bahamas. Millepora complanata, is found primarily in shallow waters, possessing wide, smooth branches whereas Millepora alcicornis, is found primarily in deeper waters, possessing thinner, knobby branches.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that usually causes eventual respiratory failure due to motor neuron death. Approximately 90% of all ALS cases are classified as sporadic ALS, meaning that there is no known cause.
Approximately 28 million members of the U.S. population are affected by migraine. Migraine frequently progresses from Episodic Migraine (EM) to Chronic Migraine (CM). Current investigations into the transition from EM to CM have focused on the potential of a physiological process called Spreading Depression (SD) and the potential influence of the innate immune system in … [Read more…]
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the most common pulmonary pathogens (Overhage, et. al., 2006). It is an opportunistic and highly virulent pathogen that rarely affects healthy people; in fact, P. aeruginosa affects primarily immune-compromised people such as those suffering from cystic fibrosis (Kohler, et al., 2000).
The membrane potential of a cell is defined as the voltage inside the cell relative to the extracellular solution. Preexisting methods to measure cell membrane potential are more invasive and harmful to cells compared to the process of fluorescence resonant energy transfer (FRET).
Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf-5 produces metabolites that inhibit rhizosphere plant pathogens, thus the organism is a natural biocontrol agent and increases plant survival (Raaijmakers et al., 2002). Pf-5 specifically produces 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol (2,4-DAPG), pyoluteorin (PLT), and pyrrolnitrin, which have all been found to have biocontrol activity (Duffy & Defago, 1999; Bender, et al, 1999; Sarniguet, et al., … [Read more…]
Human adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) became the first oncolytic virus approved for commercial use in 2005 through intratumoral injection. However, problems still remain when the virus is injected systemically. In recent findings, when a dose of competent adenovirus was administered systemically, the virus was sequestered by the liver, causing complications rather than delivering therapeutics to … [Read more…]
Autism spectrum disorders, a group of developmental disorders that affect one in every 150 children, are highly heritable. Autism is thought to be caused by a number of epigenetic and genetic factors that are de novo or inherited and influenced by the environment.
Osteoporosis is marked by a decrease in bone mineral density and an increased susceptibility to fracture.
We used organic synthesis to place a deuterium atom at the 2″ position of the deoxyribose sugar of adenosine.
Several studies have indicated that Parkinson’s disease (PD) is more common in males as opposed to females.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that causes eventual respiratory failure due to motor neuron death.
Two morphologies of Millepora, currently classified as separate species, exist off the coast of the Bahamas.
Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of organisms to change their phenotype in order to adapt to their environment.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) is a highly infectious opportunistic pathogen which can be deadly to those with compromised immune systems.
Female turtles are capable of storing sperm from multiple males, potentially enabling offspring from a single clutch to be fathered by several males.
Last January and February I completed an internship at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) in the Department of Forensic Biology (New York City, NY).
Environmental enrichment is a natural means by which the brain can make itself more resilient against disease; however, its mechanisms remain incompletely defined. Environmental enrichment consists of increased social, physical and intellectual activity (i.e., learning), which can reduce brain injury by more than 50%.
This research focused on the role of Toll-like Receptor 2 (TLR 2) in the development of adipose inflammation in obesity.
Fire coral from the genus Millepora are ubiquitous in tropical western Atlantic reefs. Two distinct morphologies of Millepora, currently classified as separate species, exist off the coast of the Bahamas. M. complanata have broad, smooth blades and prefer shallow waters whereas M. alcicornis have knobby branches and prefer deeper waters.