Faculty News

Rowe Researcher: Hydration in Collegiate Male Soccer Athletes

Knowledge and Assessment of Hydration in Heat Acclimatized Collegiate Male Soccer Athletes

Summer 2015

Investigators: Abigail Colburn1, Robert A. Huggins1, Andrea Fortunati1, David Looney1, Chris West1, Lawrence E. Armstrong, FACSM1, and Douglas J. Casa, FACSM1

1University of Connecticut

Fluid consumption during exercise can be influenced by vessel type and hydration knowledge, however athletes often are not given a choice of vessel and furthermore they are unaware of their individual fluid needs. PURPOSE: The aim of this single-blind matched pairs laboratory study was to investigate if hydration vessel has an impact on water consumption volume and if athletes are aware of their total body fluid balance. METHODS: Nineteen Division I male soccer athletes (age, 20±1 y; height, 180±7 cm; body mass, 78.68±7.39 kg) performed a standard 60 minute sweat electrolyte test in the heat and completed a hydration knowledge and strategy questionnaire afterwards. Ten participants consumed unlimited water from 1L commercial sports drink bottles typically used in practice (BTL), while 9 participants consumed unlimited water from a commercial water bladder hidden above them in the ceiling, only with access to the straw (BLA). Testing was conducted in a controlled environmental chamber, ambient temperature was 29.68±5.08°C, relative humidity 49.32±10.65%, and WBGT 19.32±4.43°C. Primary variables of interest included actual fluid consumed, perceived fluid consumed, actual sweat rate, and perceived sweat rate. Between group differences were analyzed using paired samples t-tests (a= p<0.05). RESULTS: There were no differences between BTL and BLA for amount of actual fluid consumed (BTL, 414.44±397.18mL; BLA, 390±288.21mL; p=0.879) actual fluid lost (BTL, 1415.56±368.62; BLA, 1344±452.14mL; p=0.712), perceived fluid consumed (BTL, 833±673mL; BLA, 565±461.64; p=0.321) or perceived fluid lost (BTL, 2444±1333; BLA, 2063±1778; p=0.607). However, when groups were combined, significant differences were found between the following variables. Perceived consumption was 692±572mL and actual consumption was 401.58±334.37mL (p=0.016). Perceived sweat losses were 2244±1552mL and actual sweat losses were 1377.89±404.90mL (p=0.015). Athletes only consumed 22.5±16.9% of actual fluid losses. Actual consumed and actual sweat losses were also significantly correlated (p<0.001). CONCLUSION: Although there were no differences between the type of vessel in which fluid was administered, NCAA Division I soccer athletes significantly overestimated both the amount of fluid they consumed and actual sweat losses during 60 minutes of exercise in the heat. These findings suggest that athletes are unaware of their individualized fluid needs, which may lead to involuntary dehydration.

Rowe Researcher: Lab-on-a-chip Device

Lab-on-a-chip Device for an Early Diagnosis of Cardiac Diseases

Spring 2016-Ongoing

Investigators: Elena Carrington, Karim Abdel Jalil, Dr. Chandra Kumar Dixit in the Chemistry as well as the Molecular and Cell Biology Department

Through various experiments, we are showing that microfluidic arrays can be used for detection of cardiovascular disease. We are examining troponin, C-Reactive Protein (CRP), and myoglobin as biomarkers for detection of cardiovascular disease. These biomarkers are used in a 3D printed microfluidic device, which is designed with an open source designing software, Autodesk 123. The fabricated chip has two distinct regions, viz fluidics and detection zone. Reagent delivery system is constituted of five micro-channels for transporting sample and reagents to the detection chamber. Monoclonal capture antibodies are spotted separately within the detection chamber. The sample and reagents follow to the waste chamber.  The detection zone is spotted with monoclonal antibodies specific to the three biomarkers. The objective of our experimental design is to develop a microfluidic-based tool for multiplexed and highly sensitive detection of cardiovascular diseases. The experiments are ongoing; therefore, we do not have conclusive results at this time.

Rowe Researcher: Self-Healing Double Network Hydrogels

Photo credit: Allison Battista
Photo credit: Allison Battista

Self-Healing Double Network Hydrogels

March 2013-2016

Investigators: Dr. Thomas Seery & Omar Allam, UConn Chemistry and Institute of Material Science (IMS), and the Jin Group, Chemistry Department at Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Hydrogels are gels in which the polymer chains that constitute them are hydrophilic and thus readily absorb water.  Theoretically, hydrogels have a wide array of applications, however, they display poor mechanical properties, which limit their use.  My research aims at i) synthesizing hydrogels with a unique double network structure in order to improve their mechanical properties (in particular, their toughness) and ii) characterizing the physical properties of these new hydrogels to determine their suitability for possible biomedical applications. If this new structure for hydrogels exhibits superior mechanical properties, it will provide an opportunity to test possible applications such as artificial cartilage, contact lenses, and scaffolds for delivering medicine.

Rowe Researcher: In Vitro Evaluation of Calcium Peroxide Release from Composite Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) Microsphere Scaffolds

In Vitro Evaluation of Calcium Peroxide Release from Composite Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) Microsphere Scaffolds

Fall 2013-Spring 2015

rowe researcherInvestigators: Ornella Tempo, Keshia Ashe, Yusuf Khan Ph.D, Cato Laurencin Ph.D/M.D UConn Health Center, Farmington CT

Bone tissue engineering looks specifically at the intersection of cells, biomaterials, and bioactive factors for the restoration of normal bone function following instances of surgical, degenerative, or traumatic bone loss. The objective of this project was to investigate the potential of a materials-only based approach for guided bone regeneration. Specifically, the capabilities of composite poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLAGA) and calcium peroxide (CaO2) sintered microsphere scaffolds were investigated as an alternative to current bone repair strategies. During this project, composite sintered microspheres were fabricated, sintered into 3-dimensional (3D) matrices, and evaluated the in vitro release of CaO2. Continue reading

Rowe Researcher: Neural Mechanisms for Behavioral Differences on Visual Integration in Schizophrenia

rowe researcher and professor
Dr. Chi-Ming Chen and Fariya Naz

Neural Mechanisms for Behavioral Differences on Visual Integration in Schizophrenia

Fall 2014

By: Chi-Ming Chen, Psychology (chair), James Chrobak, Psychology, Emily Myers, Speech, Language and Hearing, and Fariya Naz

Cognitive functions like planning, reasoning, inhibiting as well as working memory are disrupted in schizophrenia. Cognitive impairments precede psychotic symptoms, and findings have consistently shown deficits in visual integration. Specifically, the visual integration disturbance in schizophrenia pertains to both an impaired basic visual processing system as well as reduced feedback from visual attention regions that should actually be amplifying relevant visual representations in contrast to irrelevant information. The goal of this project is to identify differences and establish a baseline in the neuronal oscillations for a visual integration task in individuals with schizophrenia and healthy participants using electroencephalograms (EEGs).

Rowe Researcher: The Fabrication of Drug Encapsulated Microparticles for the Purpose of Drug Delivery for Pain Management


Ojha Anurag
Anurag Ojha

The Fabrication of Drug Encapsulated Microparticles for the Purpose of Drug Delivery for Pain Management

August 2014 – August 2015

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Institute of Regenerative Engineering, UConn Health

Osteoarthritis (OA) is caused by the breakdown of cartilage. The deterioration of cartilage directly exposes joints to bone surfaces causing excruciating pain, decreased range of motion, and other forms of disability to patients. To combat the pain, oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and intra-articular injections are used to manage pain from 24 hours to 7 days. However, both NSAIDS and intra-articular injections clear out of the system rapidly and require repeated dosages (leading to infection and excessive drug concentration at target site).

The purpose of this project is to develop a biodegradable microparticle (MP) implants for long lasting delivery of the NSAID celecoxib (CLX) for effective pain management of OA. Five different co-polymers of PLLA and PCL such as PLLA, Poly (LA-co-CL)(95:05), Poly (LA-co-CL)(85:15), Poly (LA-co-CL)(80:20), and Poly (LA-co-CL)(70:30) were used to fabricate MPs and release profiles were evaluated in vitro. The microparticles were fabricated by an oil-in-water emulsification technique followed by a solvent evaporation process. The drug loading efficiencies were determined using an extraction technique. The microparticles were characterized using FT-IR and light microscope.

2014-15 Faculty Member of the Year Award: Mark Boyer

Mark A. Boyer is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, Director of UConn’s Environmental Studies program, and a Scholar-in-Residence for the Center for Environmental Science and Engineering. This is his twenty-seventh year at UConn. His research areas include global politics, climate change as it links the global to the local, and innovative pedagogy.

Starting July 1, he becomes Executive Director of the International Studies Association, with ISA’s headquarters relocating to UConn from the University of Arizona. He is past editor of International Studies Review (2008-2012) and International Studies Perspectives (2000-2004). He was also a 1992-1993 Pew Faculty Fellow in International Affairs and a 1986-88 SSRC-MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security.

As an educator, Mark works closely with students at all levels, including undergraduates and graduate scholars. He appreciates the unique experience of working with Honors students, specifically during their early years. “It’s simply more fun, and more intellectually challenging, to help provide the foundation for future scholarship, intensive learning, and even career development than it is to refine what is already a decided path into the future.”

Mark holds a B.A. in political science from Wittenberg University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Maryland. He is well published in his field.

2013-14 Faculty Member of the Year Award: Annamaria Csizmadia

Dr. Annamaria Csizmadia’s educational journey has spanned thousands of miles and multiple disciplines. Born and raised in Hungary, she completed her secondary education at a boarding school that allowed her to delve into foreign languages. She studied Russian, German, English, and Latin in high school. Her growing proficiency in English and German ignited her intellectual curiosity about cultural diversity and her desire to pursue higher education outside her native country. Through a number of formal experiences and fortuitous encounters, she was afforded invaluable opportunities to live, work, and study in Germany and the United States.

She earned the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in English and German language and literature at the University of Trier in Germany. After studying in Germany for four years, she moved to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in German literature at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Although Dr. Csizmadia learned to appreciate the depth and breadth of German literature, by the end of her master’s studies, her academic interest changed from literary inquiries to analyses of cultural variation in human development. Thus, she shifted her academic training from humanities to social sciences and enrolled in the doctoral program in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) at the University of Missouri. Inspired by personal experiences, close friendships, and cross-cultural studies, she began to research cultural diversity and ethnic-racial minority families, with particular focus on Black American youth, immigrant families, and multiracial children. She completed her doctoral degree in Human Development and Family Studies along with graduate certificates in Black Studies and International Development in 2008. Her dissertation research examined the role of racial identification in young Black-White biracial children’s social development from kindergarten through fifth grade.

In August 2008, Dr. Csizmadia joined the Human Development and Family Studies department at the University of Connecticut. She regularly teaches courses on individual and family development, diversity issues, adolescent development, and research methods at the Stamford regional campus, and occasionally a graduate course on early and middle childhood at Storrs. Through the years, she has mentored dozens of undergraduate students who completed research practica, internships, independent studies, as well as Honors thesis research. Several of her undergraduate students have won undergraduate research awards such as the SHARE Award, the SURF Award, and Travel Awards to attend national conferences.

Her research on racial identity, ethnic-racial socialization, and psychosocial development in multiracial and immigrant children has been disseminated at conferences nationally and internationally, and in well-recognized peer-reviewed journals such as Family, RelationsSocial DevelopmentParenting: Sciences and PracticeAdvances in Life Course ResearchSociological CompassJournal of Marriage and FamilyJournal of Black Psychology, and Maternal and Child Health Journal.

“It has been personally and professionally gratifying and inspiring for me to engage many of my undergraduate students at the Stamford campus in my research. It thrills me to see my students—many of whom remind me of myself (young, ambitious, first-generation college students, and of immigrant background)—jump at the opportunity to stretch themselves academically through involvement in research.”

2013-14 Faculty Member of the Year Award: Patrick Dragon

Patrick Dragon introduces himself to every class with the following: “Y’all can call me Pat. If you insist on an honorary, either Professor Pat or Doctor Dragon will do, so long as it alliterates!” Pat is proud to have been educated entirely through public school systems. A native of Hadley, Mass., Pat graduated from Hopkins Academy in 2001. Five years later, he completed his two bachelor’s degrees at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, with majors in physics, mathematics, and astronomy.

Pat was admitted to the Ph.D. program in mathematics at the University of California-Davis and started there in the fall of 2006. While a graduate student, Pat attended several courses in mathematical pedagogy and Socratic teaching methods, eventually leading workshops for students who sought extra help in math courses. Pat was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, as well as the William Karl Schwarze Award, for excellence in teaching and service to undergraduates. Pat finished his Ph.D. in the spring of 2011, with a research focus in applications of combinatorics to quantum mechanics and quantum field theory.

Since finishing his Ph.D., Pat has been teaching at UConn in Storrs. In six short semesters, he has established a reputation as a challenging but energetic instructor. One student wrote, “I took Pat’s linear algebra class. He isn’t easy, but he is the best teacher I have had at UConn, by far. He is a very smart guy with a passion for math, and more importantly, a passion for teaching. If you’re looking for an interesting class, take Pat Dragon. If you’re looking for an easy class, get over yourself and take Pat Dragon anyway.”

Rowe Researcher: Premenstrual Syndrome in Minority Women

Fall 2012-Spring 2014: An Exploratory Pilot of Factors Associated with Premenstrual Syndrome in Minority Women

By Mallory Perry; Michelle Judge, PhD, RD; Deborah D. McDonald, PhD, RN

Research evidence is limited in relation to the difference between minority populations and White Americans in regards to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms.  Though no research has been done directly on PMS variances, studies on amount and duration of menstrual cycles do show that there is a significant difference between ethnic groups.  The aims for this research are to explore factors associated with PMS in minority women and to compare PMS symptom response of minority and nonminority women to diet supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids. Continue reading