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Spatially Explicit Modeling of West Nile Virus Risk Using Environmental Data

Description: West Nile virus (WNV) is an emerging infectious disease that has widespread implications for public health practitioners across the world. Within a few years of its arrival in the United States the virus had spread across the North American continent. This research focuses on the development of a spatially explicit GIS-based predictive epidemiological model based on suitable environmental factors. We examined eleven commonly mapped environmental factors using both ordinary least squares regression (OLS) and geographically weighted regression (GWR). The GWR model was utilized to ascertain the impact of environmental factors on WNV risk patterns without the confounding effects of spatial non-stationarity that exist between place and health. It identifies the important underlying environmental factors related to suitable mosquito habitat conditions to make meaningful and spatially explicit predictions. Our model represents a multi-criteria decision analysis approach to create disease risk maps under data sparse situations. The best fitting model with an adjusted R2 of 0.71 revealed a strong association between WNV infection risk and a subset of environmental risk factors including road density, stream density, and land surface temperature. This research also postulates that understanding the underlying place characteristics and population composition for the occurrence of WNV infection is important for mitigating future outbreaks. While many spatial and aspatial models have attempted to predict the risk of WNV transmission, efforts to link these factors within a GIS framework are limited. One of the major challenges for such integration is the high dimensionality and large volumes typically associated with such models and data. This research uses a spatially explicit, multivariate geovisualization framework to integrate an environmental model of mosquito habitat with human risk factors derived from socio-economic and demographic variables. Our results show that such an integrated approach facilitates the exploratory analysis of complex data and supports reasoning about the underlying spatial ...
Date: December 2015
Creator: Kala, Abhishek K.

Impact of a Genetically Engineered Probiotic Therapy and Igf-1 Genomics in the Pahenu2 Mouse Model of Pku

Description: Absence of functional phenylalanine hydroxylase results in phenylketonuria (PKU). Viable treatments remain few, expensive and secondary conditions such as osteopenia occur in most PKU patients. Objective 1: Given the recently described roles of gut microbes to aid host digestion, an orally administered genetically engineered probiotic as the delivery vehicle for enzyme replacement therapy was created. The engineered probiotic, pHENOMMenal, produced phenylalanine ammonia lyase with significant production of trans-cinnamate (phenylalanine cleavage product) in vitro and resulted in a reduction of 515 μM in blood phenylalanine when fed to PKU animals for 14 days (from 2307µM ± 264µM to 1792µM ± 261µM, n = 6, P < 0.05). The control probiotic produced no change in blood phenylalanine. Thus, pHENOMMenal treatment in PKU mice demonstrated engineered microbes could compensate for a metabolic deficiency of the host. Objective 2: Evaluate the PAHenu2 mouse model of PKU for a genetic discrepancy causing ocular enlargement and delayed development observed only after the PAHenu2 mutation was crossed to the C57BL/6J mouse. When compared to healthy littermates, ELISA indicated a consistent but insignificant decrease in plasma IGF-1 and an increase in ocular IGF-1 in PKU animals. SNP screening demonstrated a differential inheritance of IGF-1 alleles in healthy and PKU animals based on PAH allele inheritance. Ocular and developmental phenotypes in the PAHenu2 colony match those described in previous IGF-1 studies. Understanding the IGF-1 inheritance discrepancy will enable better osteopenia research using PAHenu2 mice and allow breeding of a healthier mouse colony for continued research. Collectively the results from this work describe a new therapeutic approach for treatment of PKU as well as a better understanding of the PAHenu2 mouse model to study this disease.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Durrer, Katherine Elaine

Genetic Analysis of Medicago truncatula Plants with a Defective MtIRE Gene

Description: Leguminous plants are able to fix nitrogen by establishing a symbiotic relationship with soil dwelling bacteria, called rhizobia. The model plant Medicago truncatula forms a partnership with Sinorhizobium meliloti whereby the plant gains bioavailable nitrogen and in exchange the bacteria gains carbohydrates. This process occurs within nodules, which are structures produced on the roots of the plants within which nitrogen is fixed. M. truncatula incomplete root elongation (MtIRE) was localized to the infection zone, which is zone II of indeterminate nodules. It was shown to encode a signaling kinase so it was anticipated to play a role in nodulation. Mutants of MtIRE in the R108 background, mutagenized with the Tnt1 retrotransposon, were obtained from reverse screen, and were assessed to determine if a disrupted MtIRE gene was the cause of nitrogen fixation defective nodules. Mutant line NF1320, having a mutant phenotype, showed typical Mendelian segregation of 3:1 when backcrossed to R108. Experimental results show that MtIRE gene is not the cause of the mutant phenotype, but was linked to the causative locus. MtIRE co-segregated with the mutant phenotype 83%. Southern blot and the first version of the M. truncatula genome (version 3.5) reported a single MtIRE gene and this was shown to be on chromosome 5 but the latest version of the M. truncatula genome (version 4.0) showed a second copy of the gene on chromosome 4. The genome sequence is based on the A17 reference genome. Both genes are 99% identical. Genetic markers that originate from flanking sequence tags (FSTs) on both chromosome 4 and 5 were tested in an attempt to find an FST that co-segregated with the mutant phenotype 100%. An FST derived from a Tnt1 insertion in Medtr4g060930 (24F) co-segregated with the mutant phenotype closely, with 76% co-segregation. Medtr4g060930 (24F) is on chromosome 4, making it ...
Date: August 2015
Creator: Alexis, Naudin

Forward Genetic Characterization of Medicago truncatula Tnt1 Insertion Mutants Defective in Nodule Development and Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation

Description: Legumes are unique plants because they form special structures “nodules”, via symbiotic relationships with rhizobial bacteria present in the soil. Once rhizobia mature inside nodules, they fix atmospheric nitrogen providing a source of bioavailable nitrogen to the plant. To discover novel genetic components involved in the legume-rhizobia symbiosis by using forward genetic screening, we have isolated Medicago truncatula Tnt1 insertion mutants in the R108 ecotype, which are defective in nodule development and symbiotic nitrogen fixation in response to Sinorhizobium meliloti. Out of three mutants NF11044, NF11217 and NF8324, one of the mutants showed brown nodules and Fix- phenotype that is defective in symbiotic nitrogen fixation. The other two mutants showed white nodules and Fix- phenotype, also indicator of defects in symbiotic nitrogen fixation. To identify the underlying mutation causing the phenotype, we have developed molecular genetic markers by obtaining genomic sequences flanking the Tnt1 insertions by TAIL-PCR and Illumina sequencing. To carry out co-segregation analysis, back-crossed BC1F2 segregating populations were obtained. These are being phenotyped, genotyped and analyzed for co-segregation of the phenotype with the Tnt1 genetic markers. Back-crossing also has the effect of reducing the Tnt1 insertions, which are not linked to the nodulation defective phenotypes. Out of the three mutants, NF8324 harbors exactly the same insertion as in the rsd-1 Tnt1 mutant NF11265. The defect in NF11217 is caused by a Tnt1 insertion in the previously described PLC gene; the site of this insertion is close to that found in a different mutant, NF0217. For mutant NF11044, we developed linkage markers that place the defective locus on chromosome 7. To further characterize co-segregation in NF11044, a mapping population has been created by crossing the mutant with other ecotypes: A17 and A20. We tested mutants and wild type plants with linkage marker A20 X NF11044 BC1F2 that segregates 3:1(wild ...
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Date: May 2015
Creator: Kadel, Khem L.

The Impact of Developmental Stress on Cardiovascular Physiology of Two Archosaur Species: American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and Domestic Chicken (Gallus gallus)

Description: Crocodilians and birds comprise sister taxa of archosaurs, the development of these vertebrates occurs within an egg case that leaves developing embryos susceptible to fluctuations in the nesting environment. Studies suggest that sub-optimal conditions alter morphological growth and cardiovascular physiology. Regulation of the cardiovascular system is immature in the subjects studied, and embryos may rely on humoral rather than neural control of the cardiovascular system. The primary focus of this dissertation was to assess regulatory mechanisms responsible for maintenance of arterial pressure and heart rate. Dehydration stress had marked effects on embryo growth, and altered baseline cardiovascular parameters, while leaving the response to humoral regulator, angiotensin II (Ang II), unaffected. However, dehydrated alligator embryos developed cholinergic tone on heart rate. Hypoxic incubated chicken embryos were reduced in embryo mass, and altered response to humoral regulatory components Ang I and adenosine in addition identifying a novel regulatory component of the cardiovascular response to acute hypoxia. Collectively, these studies add to the existing knowledge of cardiovascular physiology in embryonic archosaurs and suggest that some components of cardiovascular regulation are plastic following developmental stress.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Tate, Kevin B.

Investigating the Ability of Pseudomonas aeruginosa pyrE Mutants to Grow and Produce Virulence Factors

Description: Pseudomonas aeruginosa are medically important bacteria that are notorious for causing nosocomial infections. To gain more knowledge into understanding how this organism operates, it was decided to explore the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway. Pyrimidine synthesis, being one half of the DNA structure, makes it a very important pathway to the organism’s survivability. With previous studies being done on various genes in the pathway, pyrE has not been studied to the fullest extent. To study the function of pyrE, a site directed mutagenesis was done to completely knock out pyrE, which encodes the protein orotate phosphoribosyl transferase that is responsible for converting orotate into orotate monophosphate (OMP). A mutation in this step leads to accumulation and secretion of orotate into the medium. Analyzing virulence factors produced by the mutant and comparing to the wild type, some intriguing features of the mutant were discovered. One of the findings was the over expression of virulence factors pyoverdin and pyocyanin. Pyocyanin over expression, based on the results of this study, is due to the accumulation of orotate while over production of pyoverdin is due to the accumulation of dihydroorotate. The other virulence factors studied were motility assays, exoproducts, and growth analysis. All virulence factor production was reduced significantly in the mutant compared to the wild type. The casein protease assay showed absolutely no production of proteases in the mutant. The conclusion is that orotate accumulation leads to a significant reduction in virulence factor production in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In addition to that, it was found that excess orotate in the wild type led to a decrease in quorum sensing regulated products.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Niazy, Abdurahman

Microflora in Prepared Foods Dispensed from Eating Establishments in Dallas, Texas

Description: A bacteriological study was made of a number of prepared foods that were bought ready-to-eat, for home consumption, from several food establishments in Dallas, Texas. The purpose of this study was to show whether these foods could be a potential source of food poisoning; whether there are any particular foods that should have greater care than others in order to protect their quality; and whether the bacteriological contamination could have been prevented by strict observance of the city regulations for handling foods.
Date: August 1948
Creator: Phillips, Margaret

The Effects of Common Electrolytes on Growth and Development of Selected Species of Aquatic Actinomycetes

Description: The role that aquatic actinomycetes play, in the production of tastes and odors in water supplies has been investigated since 1948. The ability of these organisms to produce by-products in lakes and streams, which renders the water unpalatable, is of considerable public health importance. It is desirable that the waterworks industry has as much information as possible concerning the factors that contribute to the growth of these organisms. Since it appears that the aquatic actinomycetes may be isolated from most fresh-water sources, the problem of diversified environments and nutritional requirements offers an excellent field of investigation. The fresh-waters of the world contain variable quantities of electrolytes that may determine in part the biological activity of these organisms. The unsolved questions in this instance are concerned with the electrolytes present and their quantitative effects on the growth and development of these forms.
Date: August 1959
Creator: Sissom, Stanley L.

A Study of a Selected Group of Science Related Characteristics of Non-Science Majors

Description: The purpose of this study is to gather information related to the characteristics of two groups of undergraduate non-science majors; namely, those students who once considered science as a career and subsequently changed to a non-science major and those who have never considered a career in science. It is frequently observed that children in the elementary school have an intense interest in science. One of the principal concerns of this study is how and for what reasons has the interest in science changed between elementary school and college? It is also the purpose of this study to gather information related to the attitudes of these college students toward the science courses they have had in high school and toward their science teachers. In attempting to arrive at an answer, the group who once considered a science career and those who have never considered an occupational choice in a field of science will be compared in the following areas: 1. General information such as sex, age, size of high school attended, rank within their graduating classes, college classification and military experiences. 2. Occupations and hobbies of parents. 3. Experiences which may influence attitudes toward science such as elementary school science, high school science courses, high school science teachers, attitudes toward science requirements, high school courses liked most, high school courses liked least, and membership in science clubs. 4. College science courses completed. 5. Extent of the interviewees' present interest in science, Finally, the circumstances surrounding the tentative choice of a science career by those who once considered such a career will be discussed.
Date: August 1957
Creator: Bearden, Bennie Paul

Responses to Diets High in Phenylalanine Compounds as Genetic Parameters in Mice

Description: The induction of phenylketonuria in mice through the use of excess dietary phenylalanine is an area in which limited research has been done. This study intends to pursue further work in this area, more specifically, to study the effects of excess dietary phenylalanine and the phenylalanine analogue A.P.B.A. (2-amino-3-phenyl butanoic acid) (7) on brain serotonin and brain norepinephrine. In addition, the effects of these two compounds on the incidence of audiogenic seizures will be explored.
Date: June 1966
Creator: Boughey, Frederick W.

The Determination of Uptake and Depuration Rate Kinetics and Bioconcentration Factor of Naphthalene and Lindane in Bluegill Sunfish, Lepomis macrochirus

Description: Bluegill were exposed to 3 and 30 pg/L lindane and 20 and 200 pg/L naphthalene to determine uptake rate constants, K1 depuration rate constants, K2, and bioconcentration factors, BCF. Correlations were determined between lipid normalized and non-lipid normalized BCFs, and between observed Kl, K2 and BCFs and predicted values. The K1 values for both chemicals and concentrations were similar. The K2 values were different (1.04 day~1, 0.46 day 1). Naphthalene was more rapid. BCFs for lindane (315) and naphthalene (98) were different. Lipid normalized BCFs for naphthalene were more variable than non-lipid normalized BCFs. The reverse was observed for lindane BCFs. Predicted K1, K2 , and BCFs were in agreement with observed values.
Date: August 1981
Creator: DeFoer, Marguerite J.

A Vegetative Key to the Grasses of Erath County, Texas

Description: "The orientation of this study began with a collection of the grasses of Erath County during their flowering periods. Collections were made in the Spring and Fall of 1950 and 1951 to obtain both vernal and autumnal grasses. Identifications were made from the grass floras previously mentioned and checked against specimens in the herbarium of North Texas State College for verification. In addition, the list was checked by W.A. Turney, Conservationist, United States Department of Agriculture of Dublin, Texas. Finally, the list was compared with that prepared by W.M. Cory for the plant areas of which Erath County is a part. On the basis of the above identifications, a critical study of the vegetative characteristics was made and a key based on these features prepared. The width of the blad and characteristics of the ligule, roots, culms, and sheaths were used to distinguish each of the eighty-six specimens found in the collection area. A drawing was made of the longitudinal section of the juncture of the blade and the sheath of each grass. This diagnostic section includes the collar, ligule, a part of the blade and sheath, and auricles, if present."-- leaf 5.
Date: August 1951
Creator: Robinson, Inez Evans

An Investigation of Naturally Occurring Tastes and Odors from Fresh Waters

Description: The Problem of the cause and control of tastes and odors in water supplies has been the subject of a great many investigations during the last half-century; however, many questions in this field remain to be answered. Theories relating to the cause of tastes and odors occurring in water are still rather numerous and, at present, only a few of them are compatible. Although several procedures have been employed for the eradication of tastes and odors from water supplies, none of them are completely successful.
Date: May 1955
Creator: Pipes, Wesley O'Feral, Jr.

Herpetology of the Amistad Reservoir Area, Val Verde County, Texas

Description: The Amistad Reservoir in southern Val Verde County, Texas will impound a considerable amount of surface water in a semi-arid region in which natural surface water is scarce. Construction of the dam began in 1963 and the reservoir began to fill in the summer of 1968. This large impoundment could have a considerable ecological impact on the area. The purpose of this research was to study the ecological distribution and zoogeographic affinities of the herpetofauna and to establish an ecological baseline against which any future changes could be measured.
Date: January 1969
Creator: Devine, Michael C.

The Population Dynamics and Trophic Relationships of Seven Species of Fish in a Small Southwestern Pond, with Special Attention Toward Young-of-the-Year Fish

Description: Production rates of seven species of fish, along with food-web interactions, were determined for one year in a pond. Production of fish in the pond amounted to 208.9 q/m2/yr. Over 95% of the production occurred in the summer, with Y of Y fish contributing 83.8%. There were two food-web interactions observed in Y of Y fishes: crappie vs. bass and bullhead vs. sunfish. When Y of Y fish shifted to benthic diets in the spring, the small biomass of benthos available could not sustain the larger biomass of fish. Competition for the available food resulted in decreased production rates for the fish community.
Date: August 1975
Creator: Jones, Fredrick V.

Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylase and Sixteen Alpha Hydroxylase in Cultured Human Lymphocytes

Description: Cultured human lymphocytes may be assayed for aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase (AHH) in whole cell preparations. The optimum assay conditions are pH 8.5, and 1.5 mM Mg++. The reaction is linear with time and cell number, and is inhibited by CO. Estradiol may inhibit induction of AHH by 3-methylcholanthrene, but is a poor competitor for the enzyme. A Caucasian population was assayed for AHH activity. The distribution was lognormal; no difference was found in cultured cells from males and females or smokers and nonsmokers. Cells from relatives of lung cancer patients showed higher activity. An American Indian population showed no difference from the Caucasian population in enzyme level. No linkage was found between AHH and 16a-hydroxylase.
Date: December 1975
Creator: Coomes, Marguerite L.

Induction of 16α Hydroxylase in Human Cultured Lymphocytes

Description: A method is presented for 160hydroxylase (SAH) induction in cultured human lymphocytes. SAH, a microsomal-associated enzyme, effects the oxidative conversion of 17pestradiol to estriol, which competes for cytoplasmic binding sites. 17,-estradiol and estrone are known mammary carcinogens, while estriol and its epimers have been suggested to have anticarcinogenic properties. To substantiate genetic variations of hydroxylase activity, an analysis of estrogen-induced cultured human lymphocytes was conducted to evaluate the frequency distribution of low, intermediate, and high SAH activity. Frequency analysis indicated that the control population distribution of SAH activity does not corroborate a proposed trimodal expansion of human SAH activity. A log normal distribution of SAH activity does exist, which suggests a polygenic mode of genetic control. SAH activity in a population of breast cancer patients and relatives of breast cancer patients showed no statistical difference from the SAH activity in the control population.
Date: December 1975
Creator: Muijsson, Ingrid E.

Differences in Protein Constituents of Some Azotobacter Species

Description: This study used polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis to study the acid-phenol soluble proteins of five strains (A. vinelandii 12837, A. vinelandii 0, A. chroococcum 8004, A. macrocytogenes 8702, A. tumefaciens) of bacteria grown on Burk's nitrogen-free media, Trypticase Soy Broth, and 0.3% butanol medium. The results showed that the protein patterns can be used for the identification and possibly the taxonomic classification of the Azotobacter. The change of phenotype of the bacteria in different media followed the change of protein quantity and quality. There was no absolute similarity between any two of the species studied and this suggests a genetically heterogenous group of organisms while the amount of common proteins suggests close genetic relationships. Further studies are necessary to confirm the status of A. tumefaciens.
Date: August 1975
Creator: Hsu, Li-Chu Yao

Pharmacological, Temperature, and Electrogram Studies on the Posterior Lymph Heart of the Bullfrog

Description: In view of the discrepancies and conflicts produced by previous studies on amphibian lymph hearts, a study was initiated to reinvestigate the pharmacological, temperature, and electrical aspects of lymph heart physiology. Bullfrogs were chosen as the experimental animal, All lymph heart responses to experimentation were physiographically recorded as myograms and electrograms. The results are in agreement with previous studies on some aspects and in conflict on others. From the results obtained, lymph heart muscle appears to possess both skeletal and cardiac muscle properties as evidenced by drug responses and reactions to temperature. The precise components of the electrogram remain unclear. It is suggested that further investigation should be made to better determine the true nature of lymph hearts.
Date: May 1975
Creator: Oberndorfer, Carol E.

Primary Productivity and Community Metabolism in a Small North Central Texas Pond Ecosystem

Description: Rates of primary production and community metabolism were monitored over a one year period using the diurnal oxygen method. Certain physico-chemical parameters were also measured, and autotrophic standing crops were estimated. An in-depth study was made of the phytoplankton community and various diversity indicies were calculated. Simple correlations were run between all parameters measured (biotic and abiotic), and their inter-relationships examined. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to develop equations predictive of production and community metabolism. Bluegreen algae were the dominant phytoplankters with blooms occurring in late summer and fall. Yearly mean production was approximately 21 kcal per meter square per day with a mean photosynthetic efficiency of 1.2 per cent. Of the various parameters measured turbidity and water temperature were most important in determining rates of primary production.
Date: August 1975
Creator: Kelly, Martin H.

A Study of Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylase in Cultured Human Lymphocytes

Description: Aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase activity was studied in cultured human lymphocytes using 3-methylcholanthrene, 1,2- benzanthracene, and 4'-bromoflavone as inducers. The substrates used to run the 60 minute assay were benzo(α)pyrene and diphenyloxazole. At the optimum bromoflavone concentration for induction of aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase, the induced enzymatic activity compared favorably with that of aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase induced by 3MC in a 96 hour lymphocyte culture using BP as the assay substrate. The whole cell human lymphocyte system was found to have as much or more activity in 20 ml vials using Joklik's-Modified Minimum Essential Medium at a pH optimum of 7.5 with no co-factor added as did the Roswell Park assay system. The whole cell assay showed that levels of aryl hydrocarbonhydroxylase inducibility in lumphocytes from smokers and non-smokers varied without regard to the subjects' smoking habits. The assay system also indicated that intact lymphocytes generate a similar group of benzo(α)pyrene metabolites as that produced by a hepatic microsomal preparation from C57B1/6J mice.
Date: August 1976
Creator: Guyden, Jerry C.

The Effects of Hypothermia on the Release of Cardiac Enzymes

Description: The myocardium is known to release CPK, LDH1 , and GOT in response to ischemia as a result of myocardial infarction. This study was designed to induce the release of cardiac enzymes without adversely effecting the myocardium by perfusion hypothermia, thereby suggesting that these enzymes are not as specific in the diagnosis of myocardial infarction as once thought. Hypothermia was by in vivo perfusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery. Enzyme activity was measured from sera samples spectrophotometrically and electrophoretically. Significant CPK and LDH1 increases were observed in animals perfused between 25 and 19 C. These results indicate that, while heart function remained unchanged, an alteration occurred in the membrane integrity of the myocardial cells.
Date: August 1977
Creator: Strawn, William B.