Authors: Berman Sarah, Cicchino Nicole, Hajinazarian Ardag1, Mescher Madelyn, Scott K. Holland, & Horowitz-Kraus Tzipi
Dyslexia is a reading disorder that is characterized by slow and inaccurate reading. It affects a significant portion of school age children, who have a higher likelihood for poorer academic performance and lowered self-esteem when suffering from dyslexia. Currently, the diagnosis of dyslexia lacks objective criteria, which can decrease treatment efficacy.
Authors: Arun John, Anne Moyer
Student debt is receiving attention as a significant stressor for college undergraduates. This, coupled with concerns about the future, has the potential to negatively impact students’ well-being. Using data from a national student survey, this study examined the extent to which financial burdens and feelings of preparedness for their path following graduation predicted the functioning of college seniors. Higher debt and lower perceptions of preparedness for employment or higher education significantly predicted lower levels of emotional and physical health in students with loans of $0 - $200,000. These results support the notion that, in these uncertain economic times, greater emphasis could be placed on student career planning and guidance, not only for the purposes of future professional development, but to promote well-being while students are still in college.
Author: Elsa Axelsdottir
Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) is an integral part of the transcriptome and provides a regulatory role in the inactivation of genes. By methylating chromatin, lncRNA can cause gene silencing and form heterochromatin. These transcripts can act both in-cis and in-trans; however, this review focuses on the specific lncRNA: HOX transcript antisense intergenic RNA (HOTAIR) in-trans. The long RNA sequence of HOTAIR binds to the HOX C locus and consequently silences chromatin at the HOX D locus. This silencing has shown to be indicative of specific cancers and their progression. In this review, HOTAIR’s involvement in cancer is discussed. Here, evidence for the direct relationship between the over expression of HOTAIR and an individual’s tumour progression into metastasis is presented.
Authors: Radhika Rastogi, Ellen Silver
Music is an integral part of many adolescents’ lives and has been shown to have anxiety-relieving effects in high-stress settings, such as hospitals. Adolescents also face high levels of stress in academic environments, which have been correlated with poor academic performance, particularly test grades. However, the relationship between stress, academic performance, and music listening among adolescents has not been studied. We hypothesized that students who spent more time listening to music while studying would report lower levels of stress and receive higher test grades.
Author: Maki Sumitani
Black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) are a social species that travel in flocks and have a strict dominance hierarchy. Feeding sites enable researchers to explore their intraspecific behaviors as they engage in contests over food. This study investigated whether the presence of a mirror at a feeder would alter the length of time and frequency of feeding by Black-capped chickadees. With the mirror image as a proxy for another bird, the study also tested whether the chickadees will interact with their mirror images with aggressive or exploratory behaviors.
Authors: Diana Finesmith & Carlita Favero
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy produces a wide range of birth defects classified as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), including motor defects. Motor functions are regulated in part by Purkinje cells in the cerebellum, which are particularly susceptible to ethanol exposure and contain high levels of calbindin, a calcium-binding protein essential to their function and survival. Previous research has demonstrated that alcohol consumption during pregnancy can produce motor defects in a newborn, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of low dose prenatal ethanol exposure on calbindin expression in the cerebellum by examining the number and relative optical density of cells expressing calbindin in the cerebella of mouse offspring exposed to ethanol from gestational day 7.5 until birth.
Authors: Alexander C. Sjuts, Aaron A. Brown
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the US, and the American Cancer Society predicts that there will be approximately 1,660,290 new cancer cases and 580,350 cancer-related deaths in 2013. A wide variety of cancer vaccines including protein and peptide- based, DNA and RNA-based, tumor cell and tumor cell lysate-based, and vector-based vaccines are currently being tested in clinical trials to try and boost the cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response in humans.
Authors: Sharmaine L. Miller, Benjamin Mensah, Daniel Wubah
Butterflies are important components of community trophic structure because they serve as food for mammals, lizards, birds, other insects, and spiders (Schreiner, 1997). Furthermore, certain species of butterfly are alsovalued pollinators and herbivores; therefore, butterflies are important in maintaining ecosystem biodiversity (Hammer, 2014). Individual butterflies are vulnerable as larvae because they are small and slow. They are also immobile as pupae or cocoons. A shortened larval and/or pupal period should decrease the chances of being ingested or attacked by predators and increase the probability of surviving to adulthood. Therefore, efforts to identify food types effective at increasing the development rates of threatened butterfly species may be useful. The purpose of this study was to determine whether different food types affect the rate of development of Hypolimnas misippus, also known as the Danaid eggfly.
Authors: Vanna Hovanky & Keyur Mehta
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death and affects over seven million people each year (American Cancer Society, 2011). Carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) is an enzyme that increases the survival of cancer cells and renders treatments ineffective by regulating tumor pH. The purpose of the project was to discover and test novel inhibitors of CAIX that can potentially block tumor growth. A total of 86,228 compounds were virtually screened. The DNA sequence coding for the human carbonic anhydrase IX protein was inserted into a bacte- rial expression vector and expressed and purified via nickel affinity tag. Spectrophotometric enzyme assays measured the effectiveness of the compounds in vitro. Virtual screening results demonstrated that metoprolol, pentamidine isethionate, and Chembridge compounds #7653639 and #7633756 have predicted drug-likeness and binding strength to the CAIX active site through favorable interactions of Van der Waals forces and hydrogen bonds.
Author: Mark Edwards
Large carnivores are often apex predators and are important in ecosystems as their behaviour promotes biodiversity. They frequently fall victim to anthropogenic causes of local extinction and subsequently, have often been the subjects of conservation efforts involving reintroduction programs. As land-use changes restrict ranges and reduce prey for large carnivores, the trend towards local extinction is set to increase; therefore ex-situ conservation is likely to be increasingly prevalent. Reintroduction programmes are divided into two distinct parts.
Author: Olivia Manley
A theory of mutated developmental control networks has been developed by Oxford scientist Eric Werner and proposed as an alternative to the traditional explanation of cancer as the result of mutated genes that cause uncontrolled cell growth. This research examined one such control network and proposed a mathematical model that depicts the behavior described by this new paradigm of cancer growth. Treatment in the form of radiation therapy was introduced, and the resulting effects on each cell population were explored. Proton therapy was also considered as an alternative to traditional radiation therapy. This research will aid in the understanding of cancer, its growth, and how treatment may interact with it.
Author: Roberto U. Cofresí
Mood disorders, depressive episodes, and other negative mood disturbances are highly prevalent forms of mental illness that can lead to suicide, especially in the absence of psychotherapy and/or pharmacotherapy. Current pharmacotherapeutic options for mood disorders are unimpressive in clinical practice, promoting only minor improvement in affective symptoms while resulting in often intolerable cognitive and somatic side effects, leading to poor patient adherence to drug regimens. Currently, commonly-prescribed antidepressants manipulate the same neurotransmitter systems (dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin) targeted by earlier generations of these drugs (e.g., monoamine oxidase inhibitors, monoamine and indoleamine reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants) only with improved system specificity. However, there exists a clear need to explore alternative neurochemical systems for use in the pharmacotherapy of mood disorders. One such system is the endogenous cannabinoid system, whose role in mood modulation is explored in this review.