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 Department: Department of Biological Sciences
Retinoic acid Treatment Affects Kidney Development and Osmoregulatory System in the Developing Chicken (Gallus Gallus)

Retinoic acid Treatment Affects Kidney Development and Osmoregulatory System in the Developing Chicken (Gallus Gallus)

Date: May 2011
Creator: Alvine, Travis Douglas
Description: Development is a dynamic process characterized by critical periods in which organ systems are sensitive to changes in the surrounding environment. In the current study, critical windows of embryonic growth and kidney development were assessed in the embryonic chicken. All‐trans retinoic acid (tRA) influences not only organogenesis and cell proliferation, but also targets metanephric kidney nephrogenesis. Embryonic chickens were given a single injection of tRA on embryonic day 8. tRA decreased embryo, kidney, and heart mass from day 16 to day 18. However, mass specific kidney and heart masses showed no differences. Whole blood, plasma, and allantoic fluid osmolality were altered in tRA treated embryos from day 16 to day 18. In addition, hematocrit, red blood cell count, and hemoglobin concentration were altered in tRA treated embryos. The results suggest that although nephrogenesis was not affected by tRA, the developing osmoregulatory system was altered in tRA treated embryos.
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Investigation of Strategies for Improving STR Typing of Degraded and Low Copy DNA from Human Skeletal Remains and Bloodstains

Investigation of Strategies for Improving STR Typing of Degraded and Low Copy DNA from Human Skeletal Remains and Bloodstains

Date: August 2014
Creator: Ambers, Angie D.
Description: Forensic STR analysis is limited by the quality and quantity of DNA. Significant damage or alteration to the molecular structure of DNA by depurination, crosslinking, base modification, and strand breakage can impact typing success. Two methods that could potentially improve STR typing of challenged samples were explored: an in vitro DNA repair assay (PreCR™ Repair Mix) and whole genome amplification. Results with the repair assay showed trends of improved performance of STR profiling of bleach-damaged DNA. However, the repair assay did not improve DNA profiles from environmentally-damaged bloodstains or bone, and in some cases resulted in lower RFU values for STR alleles. The extensive spectrum of DNA damage and myriad combinations of lesions that can be present in forensic samples appears to pose a challenge for the in vitro PreCR™ assay. The data suggest that the use of PreCR™ in casework should be considered with caution due to the assay’s varied results. As an alternative to repair, whole genome amplification (WGA) was pursued. The DOP-PCR method was selected for WGA because of initial primer design and greater efficacy for amplifying degraded samples. Several modifications of the original DOP-PCR primer were evaluated. These modifications allowed for an overall more robust amplification ...
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Integrating life cycle analysis and the ecological footprint calculator to foster sustainable behaviors

Integrating life cycle analysis and the ecological footprint calculator to foster sustainable behaviors

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Date: December 2002
Creator: Anderle, Kathryn
Description: Many tools have been developed to assess global, national or regional sustainable development policies. However, as governments develop sustainable policies, individuals must also feel empowered to affect their personal impact on the planet. This thesis integrates three sustainability concepts that lend themselves to individual sustainability: The natural step, life cycle assessment, and the ecological footprint. TNS serves to provide the meaning and substance toward sustainable development. LCA helps provide the framework for assessing sustainability. The EF calculator determines the driving components and measures the qualitative decisions made through TNS and LCA. From the analysis of the household footprint calculator a simplified footprint calculator was developed to assist individuals and communities in setting benchmarks and goals as they move away from over-consumption and towards a sustainable lifestyle.
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Engineered Microbial Consortium for the Efficient Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels

Engineered Microbial Consortium for the Efficient Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels

Date: August 2014
Creator: Anieto, Ugochukwu Obiakornobi
Description: Current energy and environmental challenges are driving the use of cellulosic materials for biofuel production. A major obstacle in this pursuit is poor ethanol tolerance among cellulolytic Clostridium species. The first objective of this work was to establish a potential upper boundary of ethanol tolerance for the cellulosome itself. The hydrolytic function of crude cellulosome extracts from C. cellulolyticum on carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) with 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25% (v/v) ethanol was determined. Results indicated that the endoglucanase activity of the cellulosome incubated in 5% and 10% ethanol was significantly different from a control without ethanol addition. Furthermore a significant difference was observed in endoglucanase activity for cellulosome incubated in 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% and 25% ethanol in a standalone experiment. Endoglucanase activity continued to be observed for up to 25% ethanol, indicating that cellulosome function in ethanol will not be an impediment to future efforts towards engineering increasing production titers to levels at least as high as the current physiological limits of the most tolerant ethanologenic microbes. The second objective of this work was to study bioethanol production by a microbial co-culture involving Clostridium cellulolyticum and a recombinant Zymomonas mobilis engineered for the utilization of oligodextrans. The ...
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Effect of Acute Alcohol Ingestion on Resistance Exercise Induced Mtorc1 Signaling in Human Muscle

Effect of Acute Alcohol Ingestion on Resistance Exercise Induced Mtorc1 Signaling in Human Muscle

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Date: August 2015
Creator: Anthony A. Duplanty
Description: The purpose of this project was to further elucidate the effects post-exercise alcohol ingestion. This project had many novel aspects including using a resistance exercise (RE) only exercise design and the inclusion of women. To our knowledge, we are the first to investigate the effect of post-RE alcohol ingestion in women. In the first chapter of this project, information on the prevalence of alcohol use and the importance of skeletal muscle as a dynamic and metabolic tissue was provided. In chapter two, the effects of post-RE alcohol ingestion in men and women are detailed. The major findings of this study was that although RE elicited similar mTORC1 signaling both in men and in women, alcohol ingestion appeared to only attenuate RE-induced phosphorylation of the mTORC1 signaling pathway in men. The third chapter focused on examining the effects of post-RE alcohol ingestion on acute testosterone bioavailability. The primary findings of this study was that alcohol substantially elevated serum total and free testosterone concentrations during recovery from a bout of resistance exercise. The fourth chapter detailed factors that contribute to bone density in men. The major findings of this study was that young adult male long-distance runners who participated in resistance training ...
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Evaluation of virulence in wild type and pyrimidine auxotrophs of  Pseudomonas aeruginosa using the eukaryotic model system  Caenorhabditis elegans.

Evaluation of virulence in wild type and pyrimidine auxotrophs of Pseudomonas aeruginosa using the eukaryotic model system Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Date: August 2004
Creator: Anvari, Sara
Description: The human opportunistic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1, has been shown to kill the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans has been a valuable model for the study of bacterial pathogenesis, and has reinforced the notion that common virulence and host defense mechanisms exist. Recently, the pyrimidine pathway was shown to regulate virulence levels. Therefore, mutations in the pyrimidine pathway of PAO1 showed decrease virulence in the nematode. When starving the nematode, bacterial resistance was also shown to increase. It was hypothesized that starvation induced the DAF pathway, which regulates the transcription of genes involved with the antibacterial defense mechanism. Further research will be conducted to test this theory by performing RNAi experiments for the genes functioning in the antibacterial defense mechanism.
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Inquiry-based science for high school students: a forensic unit

Inquiry-based science for high school students: a forensic unit

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Date: August 2000
Creator: Apple, Kendra Kea
Description: This project constitutes an instructional unit for honors biology that involves the use of science in the field of criminal investigation and forensics. Before beginning the unit, the learners should have mastered basic laboratory skills, including use of the microscope. They should also have an understanding of the basic structure and function of DNA and its role in heredity and protein synthesis. The standard time frame is 24 days with 70-minute periods, but can be easily adjusted to meet classroom needs. Several instructional strategies enhance student learning and make science fun. The unit is inquiry-driven and activity-based. Students are surprised by the crime, gather and analyze evidence, and work towards proposing an explanation. This real world problem involves the use of cooperative learning and a variety of assessment techniques.
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Effects of Water Quality, Instream Toxicity, and Habitat Variability on Fish Assemblages in the Trinity River, Texas

Effects of Water Quality, Instream Toxicity, and Habitat Variability on Fish Assemblages in the Trinity River, Texas

Date: December 1989
Creator: Arnold, Winfred R., 1960-
Description: The Trinity River flows through the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex in north central Texas where it receives effluents from numerous point sources including seven large regional wastewater treatment facilities. Historically, the Trinity River has been impacted by massive wastewater loadings which often constitute > 80% of the total river discharge during low flow periods. Normally, high mass loadings correspond to the summer months, compounding the effects of a naturally stressful period, characterized by high temperatures and low dissolved oxygen concentrations. Samples from 12 stations were collected quarterly over an 18 month period from the Trinity River and two tributaries. Water samples were analyzed for a variety of water quality variables, including metals, priority pollutants, pesticides, and general water quality parameters. Water samples were also tested for acute and subchronic effects with several test species. Fish were collected at each station and assemblages were characterized using traditional classification techniques and the Index of Biotic Integrity. In addition, sediment samples were assessed for toxic effects which could have adversely impacted fish recruitment and in situ biomonitoring experiments were performed. Quantitative habitat characterization analyses were performed to gain additional information that could possibly explains differences in fish assemblage structure related to habitat variability. Data ...
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Effector Response of the Aspartate Transcarbamoylase From Wild Type  Pseudomonas Putida and a Mutant with 11 Amino Acids Deleted at the N-terminus of PyrB.

Effector Response of the Aspartate Transcarbamoylase From Wild Type Pseudomonas Putida and a Mutant with 11 Amino Acids Deleted at the N-terminus of PyrB.

Date: May 2002
Creator: AsFour, Hani
Description: Like its enteric counterpart, aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) from Pseudomonas putida is a dodecamer of two different polypeptides. Unlike the enterics, the Pseudomonas ATCase lacks regulatory polypeptides but employs instead inactive dihydroorotases for an active dodecamer. Previous work showed that PyrB contains not only the active site but also the effector binding sites for ATP, UTP and CTP at its N-terminus. In this work, 11 amino acids were deleted from the N-terminus of PyrB and the ATCase with the truncated protein was expressed in E. coli pyrB- and purified. The wild type enzyme was similarly treated. Velocity-substrate plots without effectors gave Michaelis-Menten kinetics in all cases. Deleting 11 amino acids did not affect dodecameric assembly but altered effector responses. When carbamoylphosphate was varied, the mutant enzyme was inhibited by UTP while the wild type enzyme was activated 2-fold. When the aspartate was varied, CTP had no effect on the mutant enzyme but strongly inhibited the wild type enzyme.
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Regulation of pyrimidine biosynthesis and virulence factor production in wild type, Pyr- and Crc- mutants in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Regulation of pyrimidine biosynthesis and virulence factor production in wild type, Pyr- and Crc- mutants in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Date: May 2006
Creator: Asfour, Hani
Description: Previous research in our laboratory established that pyrB, pyrC or pyrD knock-out mutants in Pseudomonas aeruginosa required pyrimidines for growth. Each mutant was also discovered to be defective in the production of virulence factors. Moreover, the addition of exogenous uracil did not restore the mutant to wild type virulence levels. In an earlier study using non-pathogenic P. putida, mutants blocked in one of the first three enzymes of the pyrimidine pathway produced no pyoverdine pigment while mutants blocked in the fourth, fifth or sixth steps produced copious quantities of pigment, just like wild type P. putida. The present study explored the correlation between pyrimidine auxotrophy and pigment production in P. aeruginosa. Since the pigment pyoverdine is a siderophore it may also be considered a virulence factor. Other virulence factors tested included casein protease, elastase, hemolysin, swimming, swarming and twitching motilities, and iron binding capacity. In all cases, these virulence factors were significantly decreased in the pyrB, pyrC or pyrD mutants and even in the presence of uracil did not attain wild type levels. In order to complete this comprehensive study, pyrimidine mutants blocked in the fifth (pyrE) and sixth (pyrF) steps of the biosynthetic pathway were examined in P. aeruginosa. ...
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