In Vitro Evaluation of Calcium Peroxide Release from Composite Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) Microsphere Scaffolds
Fall 2013-Spring 2015
Investigators: 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 →
Neural Mechanisms for Behavioral Differences on Visual Integration in Schizophrenia
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).
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.
February 2014-Present: Effects of mutants in the I-domain on Bacteriophage P22 coat protein stability and mature capsid structure
ByFejiroOkifo, Kevin Robbins, Dr. Carol Teschke
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs
As common as the rhinovirus that visits itself upon us every flu season and as insidious as the HIV virus that causes AIDS, viruses have been afflicting the human race since the dawn of time. And yet there is still much to discover about the mechanism by which they infect their hosts. Continue reading →
Spring 2011: Measuring Viral Titer to Analyze Transduction Efficiency in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
By Dr. X. Cindy Tian, Yong Tang, and Michael Tassavor
Stem cells have the ability to dramatically change the medical landscape, allowing regrowth and regeneration of tissues previously irreparable to modern science. Severe burns, spinal breakages, and muscle damage all can benefit, as well as more abstract diseases such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and cancer. Until quite recently, however, sources for stem cells were limited to embryonic material.
In 2007, researchers managed to convert specialized adult cells to pluripotent stem cells capable of taking any somatic form in mice. This is highly useful in that it negates any need for embryonic stem cells in stem cell therapy, sidestepping legal and moral issues, as well as public outcry. Furthermore, it allows customized cells grown from the patient’s own cells, preventing immune rejection. Non-embryonic stem cells also have the benefit of allowing research to proceed with government grants, which, depending on the state and federal agencies involved, prohibit embryonic stem cell research. Continue reading →
Summer 2012-Spring 2014:Investigating Propargyl-Linked Antifolates in Inhibiting Bacterial and Fungal Dihydrofolate Reductase
By Joshua Andrade, Dr. Amy Anderson’s Lab, and Dr. Dennis Wright’s Lab
Antimicrobial agents have been invaluable in reducing illness and death associated with bacterial infection. However, over time, bacteria have evolved resistance to all major drug classes as a result of selective pressure. The advancement of new drug compounds is therefore vital. The Anderson-Wright Lab has focused on developing potent and selective inhibitors of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), an enzyme key in cell proliferation and survival, in several pathogenic species. The lab has found that a set of compounds, known as propargyl-linked antifolates, are DHFR inhibitors that are both biologically effective and have strong pharmacokinetic properties. Continue reading →
Summer-Fall 2013:Assessing the Validity and Reliability of the 2012 NHANES Chemosensory Component
By Mallory Honda, Shristi Rawal, Dr. Valerie Duffy
In 2012, the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) added a new chemosensory component to assess the prevalence of taste and smell disorders at a national level. NHANES is a nationally-representative survey of the U.S. population based on questionnaires and measures taken at mobile examination centers (MECs). The chemosensory component includes collection of self-reported data as well as taste and smell assessments carried out by researchers. Because the sense of taste is redundant (carried by many cranial nerves), reported loss of taste is rare and often actually due to decreased sense of smell which is much more liable to damage through aging, injury, or infection. Continue reading →
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 →
Summer 2012: Structure and Interactions of Translesional Synthesis DNA Polymerases
By Maciej Kosakowski, Dr. Dmitry Korzhnev, Ph.D., Dr. Irena Bezsonova, Ph.D.
During my weeks with the College Summer Fellowship Program at the UConn Health Center, I worked in a structural biology lab in conjunction with the NMR lab under Dr. Korzhnev. I assisted him on his project, which aimed to discover the specific mechanisms behind translesional synthesis DNA polymerases, or TLS polymerases for short. Continue reading →
Summer 2012: The Socio-Political Influences on Health in the Buduburam Refugee Camp
By Gian Grant, Dr. Elizabeth Holzer
The United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) recognizes that there are approximately 2.7 million refugees in the world. The UNHCR often coordinates with non-governmental organizations and asylum countries to provide refugees with services such as health care until a permanent residential situation is agreed upon. Continue reading →