Poster Session A

Title: The Effects of Habitat Type and Pathogen Infection on Tick Host Seeking Behavior

Authors: Elise A. Richardson, Caitlin E. Taylor, Brittney Jabot, Estelle Martin, Carl N. Keiser 

Abstract: Tick borne pathogens pose a significant risk to public health, wildlife health, and livestock health. The lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, is an aggressive tick that transmits a wide array of pathogens. This tick currently inhabits the southeastern US, but its geographic range is predicted to expand as climatic change makes a variety of habitats more hospitable for the lone star tick. With this in mind, we set out to assess the relationship between habitat type, pathogen infection, and host seeking behavior (questing). Ticks were collected using a tick drag through two different habitat types: xeric hammock and successional hardwood forest in the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station. Standardized 10min behavioral assays were conducted with each tick to assess the average heights quested and total time spent questing. Finally, each tick was sequenced for Rickettsia amblyommatis by extracting DNA and PCR with Rickettsia-specific primers. We have found about 28.6% of the ticks collected to be infected with R. amblyommatis, specifically in each habitat type it was as follows, 28% of ticks collected in successional hardwood forest and 32% in xeric hammock habitats. Ticks infected with R. amblyommatis appeared to spend less time engaging in questing behavior than uninfected ticks. Additionally, we found that ticks collected from xeric hammock habitats spent over twice as long questing compared to ticks from successional hardwood forests. These results show that habitat type and infection status can influence questing behaviors, playing a pivotal role in disease dynamics.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/92496585875

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Title: Fe-Modified Biochar Enhances Microbial Nitrogen Removal Capability of Constructed Wetland

Authors: Yicheng Yang, Wen Jia, Yulin Zheng, Jinsheng Huang, Yue Zhang, Bin Gao

Abstract: To improve the nitrogen removal capability of constructed wetlands, the biochar, produced from bamboo, activated with HCl and coated with Fe (FeCl3·6H2O), and then was added as a substrate into the systems. Three horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands (HSCWs) were established to treat the tailwater from the wastewater treatment plant: C-HSCW(quartz sand+soil), B-HSCW(quartz sand+soil+unmodified biochar), and FeB-HSCW(quartz sand+soil+Fe-modified biochar). Under different combinations of hydraulic retention time and nitrogen loading, the FeB-HSCW revealed extremely effective nitrogen removal. The highest removal efficiencies of NO3−-N (95.30%), Total N (86.68%), NH4+-N (86.33%), NO2−- N (79.35%) were obtained in FeB-HSCW with the hydraulic retention time of 96 h. and low influent nitrogen loading. Nitrogen mass balance analysis showed that microbial processes played the most important role of nitrogen removal in HSCWs and the Fe-modified biochar significantly enhanced the microbial nitrogen removal. The contributions of microorganisms, substrate storage and plant uptake on the total amount of nitrogen removal in the FeB-HSCW was 92.69%, 2.97% and 4.34%, respectively. Moreover, FeB significantly increased the abundances of genes involved in nitrogen removal. Thus, Fe-modified biochar provides a feasible and effective amendment for constructed wetlands to improve nitrogen removal, particularly nitrate-N, for low C/N wastewaters by enhancing the microbial nitrogen removal capacity.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/99663390091?pwd=a0FzWHRWOGNqYmZRVXhTSjRFbnZrdz09

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Title: Development of a Handheld Medical Device for Needle Biopsy Procedures

Authors: Luis Roy Araya, Zachary Tupper, Hitomi Yamaguchi

Abstract: Needle biopsy procedures are used to extract tissue samples for diagnosis, and collection of larger samples allows for more accurate diagnosis of cancers. A new end-cut-type coaxial needle with a modified aspiration mechanism has been developed to extract large tissue with minimal damage. This new end-cut mechanism relies on a vacuum created by a syringe to hold the tissues in place, thus improving the tissue yield. Since one hand of the doctor performing the biopsy is occupied guiding the biopsy needle to the target position, a mechanism operated by one hand is required in practice for the biopsy device. This presentation describes the development of a handheld end-cut coaxial needle biopsy system. A list of initial design requirements (such as dimensions, cost, velocity, and power) was defined first. Suitable hardware (e.g., dc motor, battery, microcontroller, motor driver, push button, and limit switches) was then chosen. A small printed circuit board was also designed to connect all the hardware. A reusable handle was designed, which employs a standard 5mL syringe. Initial prototypes have a three-piece construction with an isolated compartment for the electronics. Four states were identified for the device operation: Standby, Cutting, Removal and Exiting. The device switches between these states as needed. After each use, the syringe is disposed of while the handle can be cleaned for a subsequent use. The initial prototype is currently being developed.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/93508026568

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Title: Human pancreatic organoids to study the early events in the development of pancreatic cancer: Applications to health disparities research

Authors: Corey Perkins, Jinmai Jiang, Julie K. Bray, Alyssa Gosling, Lais da Silva, Thomas D. Schmittgen

Abstract: Our lab has been studying the early events of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), acinar ductal metaplasia (ADM). We developed an in vitro assay to study ADM by culturing primary human pancreatic acinar cells. Culturing the acinar cells on an extracellular matrix for 6 days allows for transdifferentiation that mimics ADM. We have cultured 58 donor’s specimens (11 Blacks, 23 Non-White Hispanics and 24 Whites). Total RNA isolated from 14 donor’s pairs of the day 0 (acinar) and day 6 (ductal) cells was sequenced using whole transcriptome sequencing. Acinar-specific genes were downregulated in the samples from day 6 ADM while ductal-specific genes were upregulated. The expression of pancreatic cancer associated genes significantly correlated with the gene expression/activity observed in normal pancreas undergoing ADM. During our investigation of drugs that inhibit pancreatic ADM in mouse cultures, we identified two compounds, LLL12B and Trichostatin A (TSA) that effectively inhibit ADM and reverse this process. The ADM inhibition and reversal experiments were repeated using human tissues. Following 5 days of culture, ADM was reversed by 500 nM of LLL12B and TSA. Our initial results suggest that Blacks who are also diabetics have less of a tendency to reverse ADM with the compounds.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/3880749049

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Title: Impact of a fluorescent dye on adult eclosion, survival, and flight ability of the corn silk fly (Diptera: Ulidiidae) Euxesta eluta Loew

Authors: Balwinder Kaur, Julien Beuzelin, Victoria Dunkley, Eric Schwan Resende, Donna Larsen

Abstract: Picture-winged flies (Diptera: Ulidiidae), referred to as corn silk flies in southern Florida, are a pest complex of sweet corn composed of three species: Chaeotopsis massyla, Euxesta eluta, and Euxesta stigmatias. There is limited knowledge on the landscape ecology and movement abilities of corn silk flies. The process of marking and releasing insects followed by recapture has been widely utilized for ecological research. Studies on tephritid flies, which are in the same superfamily (Tephritoidea) as corn silk flies, have relied on marking with a fluorescent dye to study adult dispersal in release and recapture studies. Dyes help in identifying released flies when mixed with individuals from wild populations captured in monitoring traps. Thus, fluorescent dyes might assist in the study of corn silk fly movement. The determination of an appropriate concentration of dye for marking pupae without causing harmful effects is essential for the success of marking studies. This study aimed to understand the impact of different dye concentrations on percent emergence, survival rate, and flight ability of E. eluta adults. In five trials composed of different cohorts, DayGlo A-11 Aurora Pink dye was applied to pupae using concentrations from 1 to 5 g/L of pupae. The visibility and persistence of dye pigment on the ptilinum and body regions of emerged adults were tracked for five weeks. The visibility of dye pigment on emerged adults was viewed under UV light using a Dino-lite microscope. Recommendations for the utility of fluorescent dye concentrations for marking corn silk flies are also discussed. 

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/96787240423?pwd=Q3NGR2VwelhDYkcxbzh6M1BzcUpsdz09

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Title: Longitudinal Assessment of Disease Progression in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy using Chemical Shift Encoded MR imaging and Functional Tests.

Authors: Kavya S Nair, Sean C Forbes, Donovan J Lott, Alison M Barnard, Rebecca Willcocks, Krista Vandenborne

Abstract: Background: Several functional tests have been proposed as outcome measures for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), including North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) & Performance of Upper Limb test (PUL). NSAA measures ambulatory performance, & PUL measures arm function. While both NSAA & PUL are widely utilized in DMD, the optimal functional test depends on the age and disease stage and muscle quality of participants. This study evaluated the longitudinal changes in the NSAA and PUL across different age groups, at different ambulatory stages in a large DMD cohort. Also, determined the association of the NSAA and PUL to muscles fat fraction (FF) from MRI.

Method: Three-year longitudinal data acquired from DMD boys (age 5-19yrs, n=65). FF measured from lower and upper extremity muscles using Dixon imaging. Longitudinal changes in NSAA & PUL were compared across groups defined by age and ambulatory stage. Repeated measures ANOVA and Spearman correlations were used for statistical analyses.

Results: Over a 3yrs period, NSAA declined most among 9-<15yrs of age group (28-30% decline) & PUL declined in 9-<19yrs of age group (14-25% decline). The annual decline in NSAA was 2-3 points.NSAA was more effective than PUL at detecting changes during the early ambulatory phase of DMD. NSAA & PUL were significantly correlated with lower and upper extremity muscles FF.

Conclusion: In short term DMD studies incorporating only ambulatory subjects, NSAA may be most effective, whereas PUL may be better to detect changes in late ambulatory & non ambulatory stages of DMD.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/96495223334

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Title: Sigma-1 ligands modulate methamphetamine sensitization and reward circuitry

Authors: Amy Alleyne, Lisa Wilson, Scott Harden, Dr. Chris McCurdy, Dr. Jason Frazier, Dr. Jay McLaughlin

Abstract: The sigma-1 receptor (σ1R) has implications in modulating psychostimulant-induced effects such as locomotor sensitization, but little is known mechanistically. We hypothesize σ1R activity mediates methamphetamine (METH)-induced locomotor sensitization by promoting excitation in reward circuitry. C57 mice were treated twice-daily for 7d with either saline, METH, the σ1R antagonist CM304, or METH + CM304. Following washout, mice were given one dose of METH and monitored for locomotive behavior. Compared to METH treatment alone, METH + CM304 demonstrated a reduction in locomotion, suggesting σ1R antagonism may enhance psychostimulant sensitization reversal. To evaluate cellular physiology of σ1R activation in NAc medium spiny neurons (MSNs), we used whole-cell patch-clamp technique and the σ1R agonist, SA4503. Acute application elicited a robust decrease in holding current at -70mV coinciding with an increase in membrane resistance, suggesting it acutely excites MSNs by closing Kleak channels. By contrast, prolonged SA4503 exposure inhibited AP firing. Specifically, we observed an increase in spike frequency accommodation during strong excitation that was produced primarily by a decrease in steady state (and not initial) firing frequency. We also noted clear increases in AP width in MSNs preincubated in SA4503 vs. controls, suggesting possible involvement of voltage-gated Na+ channels. Together these findings suggest σ1Rs may modulate psychostimulant effects of abused drugs by altering signaling within reward circuitry, providing a target for treating substance use disorder. 

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/97638492380

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Title: Decoding Cancer with All-optical Electrophysiology

Authors: Chenyu Liang, Mai Tanaka, Sharon Lepler, Bo Zeng, Cristian A. Dionisi, Gabriel A. Gutierrez, Vanessa Padgett, Dietmar W. Siemann, Xin Tang

Abstract: Calcium signals play important roles in the cancer progression by regulating gene transcription, proliferation, migration, and apoptosis. Understanding the calcium language in cancer and the consequences on tumor initiation and metastasis can provide insights for next-generation cancer therapies. Here, we transfected HCT-8 colon cancer cell and MA-104 normal cell with genetically-encoded calcium indicator (GECI) to dynamically monitor the inner working of calcium signals in the cell. We demonstrate that human colon cancer cells show more spontaneous calcium spikes and active calcium dynamics compared to normal cells. Efforts are underway to dissect the underlying mechanism of the spontaneous calcium spikes in cancer cells and understand how the unique calcium signals influence cancer progression.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/96894468211

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Title: High‐Throughput Approach for Predicting Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) Yield 

Authors: Anju Biswas, Janam Acharya, Cleber H. L. de Souza, Shubham Shirbhate, Aditya Singh, Esteban F. Rios

Abstract: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with sensors have become an approach for fast and non-destructive high-throughput phenotyping (HTP) in plant breeding programs. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is grown in more than 30 million hectares worldwide and breeding alfalfa for herbage accumulation (HA) requires frequent phenotyping across multiple years. The objectives of our study were: i) phenotype an alfalfa breeding population for HA using ground-based manual sampling and utilize a UAV for HTP ii) to find out the correlation and prediction efficacy of HTP with ground-based manually collected data. The alfalfa breeding population was composed of 145 full-sib and 36 half-sib families, and 3 varieties used as controls (Bulldog805, ‘FL99’ and an advanced breeding line from UF). The experiment was established in November 2017 and HA data was collected in 2018 and 2019. A UAV (DJI Matrice 100) equipped with a multispectral camera (RedEdge, MicaSense) was used for HTP, prior to each harvest event. Four vegetation indices (NDVI, NDRE, GNDVI, and GRVI) provided high correlations with HA and the regression analysis indicated that the HA can be predicted moderately by those vegetation indices. Hence, HTP represents a reliable method to phenotype alfalfa breeding lines for HA, resulting in reductions in costs and labor for phenotyping and speeds up the selection process which will benefit our alfalfa breeding program. 

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/99246324110

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Title: Evaluating the effects of planting method and seed cane quality on sugarcane growth and yield 

Authors: Hima Varsha Madala

Abstract: Sugarcane is a multi-species hybrid, i.e. sugarcane seeds will produce plants that differ significantly from the parents. For this reason, commercial planting of sugarcane using seeds is completely impractical. Currently, most of sugarcane planting in Florida is manual (hand planting) that needs lot of labor. Sugarcane cultivation requires human workers for various unit operations like planting, weeding, earthing up, fertilizer application, and harvesting. Planting is the most important and labor-intensive operation in sugarcane cultivation. Manual planting of sugarcane is not completely manual. It is semi mechanized system where seed cane is cut mechanically or manually but distribution of seed in the furrow is done manually. Mechanization of various operations reduces labor dependency and help in performing farm operations at proper time. Concerns surrounding high labor costs have supported a growing interest in developing machinery and agronomic practices for the mechanical planting of sugarcane. In response, the sugarcane industry in Florida and beyond is exploring the options of mechanical planting. However, there are concerns of more bud damage and greater susceptibility of seed cane to soil pathogens after planting, which may directly affect cane germination, tillering, stand establishment and yield. There are also chances of poor germination in pre-germinated buds. Therefore, the overall of this research project is to find best planting practices to improve sugarcane yields while reducing planting cost. 

Zoom link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/79450090544?pwd=V1BkL1lPbUxUZUYyS0ZrQ0ZRN2M3dz09

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Title: Establishing Independent & Integrated Behavioral Health

Authors: Gabriel Cartagena, MS; Erin Ferguson, MS; Lori Waxenberg, PhD, ABPP

Abstract: Florida continues to rank among the highest for mental health diagnoses in the nation. Alachua County, which homes the Gainesville community, continues to experience significant disparity in diagnoses and access to behavioral health interventions. A significant contributor to this disparity may be the socioeconomic wellbeing of the region, where many individuals report low socioeconomic status and limited access to medical insurance. Gainesville is also home to an advanced network of primary care services and specialties to meet community needs. Among these networks is an established system of student-run medical clinics for uninsured/underinsured patients. New to this system is a psychology graduate student-run behavioral health clinic with an integrated primary care system working hand-in-hand with other medical services. The present article aims to a) describe the development of an independent, student-run behavioral health clinic model by a graduate student team and b) describe the implementation/integration of this new clinic model within a free clinic network to meet a need for accessible mental health services, as well as provide patients with an opportunity for integrated care. The development and implementation of these clinics is based on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-Health Resources and Services Administration Center for Integrated Health Solutions (SAMHSA-HRSA CIHS) and Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) frameworks. Current barriers, facilitators, and plans for the models moving forward are discussed.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/93888570337?pwd=Z2NPZXIxeXB0eGpYelJmUkxGZ0hyUT09

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Title: Selective Sigma Receptor Antagonists as Novel Treatments for Chronic Pain

Authors: Lisa L. Wilson, Shainnel O. Eans, Heballa M. Agha, Sebastiano Intagliata, Christopher R. McCurdy, Jay P. McLaughlin

Abstract: Selective sigma-1 receptor (S1R) antagonists have gained interest as safer, efficacious treatments for neuropathic pain. Our lead compound CM304 displayed selectivity for the S1R, and antagonism yielding antiallodynic and antinociceptive effects in mouse models of neuropathy and nociception without liabilities. However, CM304 is rapidly metabolized, limiting its utility against chronic pain and prompting the synthesis of, and search for, longer-acting antagonists. The current research examines two analogs of CM304, HA134 and HA163, and one novel structure, SI 1/13. In binding assays, the three ligands showed affinity and selectivity for the S1R and sigma-2 receptor (S2R). Inhibition of inflammatory and chemical pain, chronic nerve constriction injury (CCI) induced mechanical allodynia, and potentially confounding adverse effects of sedation in a rotorod assay were assessed after i.p. administration of each compound. HA134, HA163, and SI 1/13 each produced dose-dependent antinociception in the formalin test, with ED50 (and 95% C.I.) values of 5.80 (4.62-7.32), 17.3 (12.2-25.7), and 12.7 (9.89-16.6) mg/kg, i.p., respectively. Pretreatment with each antagonist dose-dependently produced antinociception against visceral nociception and CCI-induced neuropathic pain. While SI 1/13 demonstrated no impairment of locomotor activity, HA134 showed transient decreases in locomotion and HA163 demonstrated sedation at doses higher than the ED95 dose. In summary, the novel selective S1R antagonists proved efficacious in the treatment of chronic pain without producing confounding sedation.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/97512150452 

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Title: Automatic Multi-functional Integration Program (AMFIP) towards All-optical Mechanobiology Sensing & Control

Authors: Qin Luo, Gaoming Lin, Justin Zhang, Xin Tang

Abstract: Automatic operations of time-lapse and multifunctional imaging are necessary for biomedical studies of long-term and multi-facet biological phenomena, including embryonic development, wound healing, and cancer metastasis. To achieve automatic control, most existing solutions often require the purchase of extra software that depends on the manufacturers’ own hardware. μManager is a widely used open-source software platform for controlling many optical instruments. However, due to limited development since its introduction, μManager lacks the compatibility for some of the latest microscopy equipment.

Here, we have created a novel software-based automation program, titled Automatic Multi-functional Integration Program (AMFIP) as a new plugin for μManager. Without the use of any extra hardware, AMFIP enables the synchronization of μManager, Nikon NIS-Elements platform, and other 3rd party software to achieve automatic operations. Efforts are underway to implement AMFIP for mechanobiology sensing and control.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/4419250887

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Title: Loss of KMT2C, the Catalytic Component of the COMPASS-like Complex, Cooperates with Oncogenic Signaling to Drive Cancer

Authors: Gabriel Prado, Richard L. Bennett, Daphne Dupere-Richer, Jonathan Licht

Abstract: In mammals, the histone methyltransferase KMT2C is a major regulator of gene expression and is one of the most commonly mutated epigenetic regulators across all cancers. Studies in mice demonstrated that Kmt2c is a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor in AML, that cooperates with oncogenes to stimulate leukemia development. Analysis of cBioportal’s curated set of non-redundant cancer patient studies indicates that loss of function KMT2C mutations significantly co-occur with RAS gain of function mutations. The Licht lab previously discovered that cells expressing oncogenic RAS displayed altered activation of enhancer gene regulator elements. How RAS and KMT2C mutations may cooperate to alter the global patterns of enhancer activity, gene expression that regulate myelopoiesis is not yet clear. Hypothesis: I hypothesize that loss of KMT2C and oncogenic RAS cooperate in altering the enhancer landscape, deregulating gene expression to perturb hematopoietic cell differentiation and enhance tumorigenicity. Approach: The following specific aims will be used to test this hypothesis: 1) characterize the impact of KMT2C loss, with or without expression of oncogenic RAS, on biological properties of cells and global chromatin architecture and 2) characterizing how KMT2C loss may cooperate with oncogenic RAS to alter hematopoiesis and the global enhancer landscape in animal models. The long-term objective of this project is to lay the groundwork for development of novel therapies to target enhancer regulation, with the goal of restoring normal gene expression in cancer.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/s/93973232951#success

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Title: Quantifying the Effectiveness of Resilience Planning for Affordable Housing

Authors: Alejandro Ramos-Alban, Harvey Halprin, Alexa Menashe, Andrea Galinski, Thomas Ankersen

Abstract: Housing is the critical link in building community resilience. However, sea level rise and more intense storm events are increasing the risk of housing stock long the U.S. coast. Additionally, affordable housing residents are doubly vulnerable to flood impacts. Homes are often more vulnerable to flooding, and residents are vulnerable to the economic and social costs of repair, rebuilding, mitigation, and/or relocation. This double vulnerability provides critical challenges, but also presents opportunities to better prepare for future events.

Pinellas County is considered as a case study to (1) spatially determine and quantify the exposure of affordable housing to current and future coastal flooding risk; and (2) score spatially-explicit housing related planning and policy instruments based on the extent to which they increase vulnerability of affordable housing for current and future coastal risk. The analysis is based on the Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard developed by Texas A&M University’s Institute for Sustainable Communities (Masterson et al., 2017, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2019).

Preliminary results show that, currently, about 37,341 naturally occurring affordable housing units (~43% of all county units) are located within coastal hazard zones, and by 2070, that number will increase by more than 5,000. Once the analysis is finished, this project will develop planning recommendations and model policy language that promote better alignment of Pinellas County’s housing plans, programs, and policies around a shared understanding of flood risk.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/99090300376 

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Title: Satellite cells provide a critical source of IGF-I during skeletal muscle growth and regeneration

Authors: H. Jean Kok, Elisabeth R. Barton

Abstract: Insulin-like Growth Factor-I (IGF-I) expedites skeletal muscle regeneration by amplifying satellite cell (SC) proliferation and accelerating differentiation. It has been postulated that IGF-I diffuses into the SC niche, however, it remains unclear if SCs rely on an autocrine source of IGF-I for their actions. Thus, we sought to determine the critical sources of IGF-I for maintaining muscle regenerative capacity. We generated novel mouse models with inducible tissue- and cell-specific ablation of IGF-I: MID (Muscle IGF-I Deficient), SID (SC IGF-I Deficient), SMID (SC and Muscle IGF-I Deficient) and CTRL (control mice lacking the floxed exon 4 of Igf1). Mice (n=4/sex/timepoint/genotype) were treated with Tamoxifen and/or Doxycycline to induce IGF-I deletion prior to unilateral Cardiotoxin (CTX) injection, targeting the tibialis anterior (TA). TA mass from all groups at days 3-7 post-CTX were significantly lower (p<0.05) compared to contralateral non-damaged muscles. All groups were able to recover to non-damaged mass levels at day 14 post-CTX except SID animals. Importantly, muscles from SID and SMID mice displayed ~36% decreases in fiber sizes compared to CTRL and MID at day 7 post-CTX, suggesting the importance of IGF-I from satellite cells. In conclusion, IGF-I generated by SC is critical for efficient skeletal muscle regeneration.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/99029749650

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Title: Effect of Tool Motion on Polishing Characteristics during Magnetic Field-Assisted Finishing on Fused Silica Laser Optics

Authors: Julian Long, Hitomi Yamaguchi

Abstract: Surface contamination and surface/subsurface damage have a well-documented negative effect on the laser-induced-damage threshold (LIDT) of transparent optics. The presence of contamination and damage layers on the surface of polished fused silica contributes to a large reduction in LIDT at ultraviolet wavelengths. Magnetic field-assisted finishing (MAF) with iron particle tools has previously been applied to fused silica and was shown to improve material removal relative to a conventional polishing pad. The effects of lubricant on the tool self-spinning motion and the subsequent surface characteristics were noted, but not investigated.

This presentation will further examine the iron particle tool motion characteristics of MAF on fused silica optics. The effects of the mixing ratio of lubricant in abrasive slurries on tool motion were examined to improve the understanding of the interaction of the polishing tool with the fused silica surface and resulting material removal characteristics. The self-spinning motion of the tool was measured and compared to resulting surface roughness and material removal on the fused silica workpiece. It was shown that tool self-spinning speed increased with lubrication. The increase in self spinning speed resulted in improved material removal rates, while the decrease in cutting edges from the increased lubricant concentration slightly improved surface roughness.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/93205646843?pwd=TjhhaFNBS05sUGtKQkpqdDkxazQxZz09

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Title: Positioning enslaved persons in 19th century Barbados fugitive slave advertisements

Authors: Andreana Cunningham

Abstract: The Trans-Atlantic slave trade was a system of mass forced migrations that occurred through the 15th-19th centuries. While the myriad slavery-based economies across the Atlantic were united by this shared history of displacement, the modes of reinforcing enslavement differed considerably across enslavement contexts. This study explores the potential effects of slave trade abolition in the British Empire in 1807 on social perceptions and portrayals of enslaved persons in Barbados, particularly the enslaved who chose to resist their status through self-emancipation. 

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/97875811394

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Title: Measuring student performance-related responses to authentic engineering education activities via physiological sensing

Authors: Edwin Marte, Zorrilla Idalis, Villanueva Jenefer, Husman Matthew Graham

Abstract: Multi-modal approaches have increasingly shown promise in exploring the human side of engineering via assessment of authentic responses to learning or working environments. This study explores the utility of noninvasive physiological wrist sensors in measuring the reactive and regulatory responses of a group of 161 engineering students taking an authentic engineering practice exam. The practice exam was categorized into Conceptual problems (e.g., rote memorization) and Analytical problems (e.g., requiring application of learned concepts through equations and free-body diagrams). Responses were measured through electrodermal activity and indicators of performance. Findings identified that the type of practice exam problem, even if designed to be within the moderate range of difficulty, influenced how students reacted to and regulated their performance to the problem (as seen by stronger positive correlations in the Analytical problems) and that these may occur via multicomponent processes. 

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/96179485998

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Title: Family Counseling Services in Immigration Detention Centers: A Review of the LiteratureFamily Counseling Services in Immigration Detention Centers: A Review of the Literature

Authors: Isabel Rayo Castrejon 

Abstract: Immigration laws in the United States have increased the number of Latinos who are apprehended and transferred to detention centers. How immigrants are treated has caught the attention of national and international institutions. For this reason, this poster session will review the impacts of detention and the counseling services provided to families in detention facilities. No research or literature was found about undocumented immigrant families' specific counseling services. There are also no documented policies or procedures regarding the therapeutic setting and practices of counselors working with this vulnerable, discriminated, racialized, and oppressed population. Therefore, it is strongly suggests approaching counseling in detention centers under a Critical Consciousness, Critical Race, and Latina/o Critical Theories where counselors develop deep understanding and knowledge about counseling multiracial or multicultural population, social justice counseling, and advocacy practices. It is fundamental to create consciousness in a relational process between counselors and families within Family Residential Centers.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/96053484839

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Title: Stature Estimation from Linear Regression of Patellar Measurements: A Preliminary Analysis

Authors: Eric Frauenhofer

Abstract: Stature estimation is an important aspect of the biological profile within forensic anthropology as it can aid in the identification of unidentified human skeletal remains. Stature is most commonly estimated using linear regression analysis from measurements of long bone lengths. This research provides a preliminary analysis of using linear regression of patellar measurements for stature estimation. The reference sample consisted of 90 randomly selected European American males from the Hamann-Todd Osteological Collection, a documented human skeletal collection, at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Seven measurements were taken of each individual’s left patella using sliding calipers. These measurements included the maximum height (MAXH), maximum thickness (MAXT), maximum width (MAXW), height of the lateral articular facet (HLAF), width of the lateral articular facet (WLAF), height of the medial articular facet (HMAF), and width of the medial articular facet (WMAF). Each parameter was subjected to linear regression analysis to obtain a linear regression formula. A test sample of 10 European American males from the same collection were subjected to the same measurements, which were used to estimate stature of these individuals using the formulas obtained from the reference sample. The average accuracy of this method to correctly estimate stature within standard error was only 51%. The most accurate measurements were MAXT, MAXW, and HMAF which estimated stature within standard error for 6 of 10 test individuals. Future research will test this method on a larger sample.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/97296175774

 

Poster Session B

Title: Host gene expression and epigenetic regulation in peanut (Arachis hypogaea) in response to rhizobial early infection

Authors: Ziliang Luo, Annapurna Chitikineni, Hai Zhou, Rajeev K. Varshney, Jianping Wang

Abstract: Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) establishes symbiosis with rhizobia through an intercellular infection pathway called “crack entry”, which is relatively primitive compared to the well-studied “root hair” entry in model legume and many other legume crop species. Understanding the “crack entry” mechanism will facilitate nitrogen fixation efficiency improvement in peanut and the symbiosis engineering in cereal crops. In this study, we profiled the transcriptome of a pair of recombinant inbred lines, a nodulating line, E6 and non-nodulating line, E7 at 2 hour-post-inoculation (hpi) and 12 hpi. Differentially expressed genes, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and micro RNAs (miRNAs) related to early rhizobia infection were identified. The regulatory network between mRNA, lncRNA and miRNA provided an insight into the plant genetic response to symbiotic bacteria. We further profiled the epigenomes of E6 at 2 hpi and 12 hpi through whole genome bisulfite sequencing. Differentially methylated loci and regions near or on the differentially expressed genes were identified. The integrated analysis of transcriptome and methylation profiles allow us to understand the gene expression and epigenetic regulation controlling peanut response to symbiotic infection at early stage. Our study provided a set of crucial peanut genes involved in crack entry for further functional characterization.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/99371958660

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Title: Remove and Reclaim Phosphorous from Wastewater with Engineered Biochar: synthesis and application 

Authors: Yulin (Patrick) Zheng, Nedgine Joseph, Yue Zhang, Yicheng Yang, Jinsheng Huang, Bin Gao

Abstract: Phosphorus (P), a vital growth-limiting nutrient, is often lost in wastewater discharge, which may not only deteriorate water quality but also accelerate P depletion. Engineered biochars (EBCs) loaded with metal oxides/hydroxides have been developed as sorbents to remove and recycle P from wastewater. EBCs were produced through pyrolysis from two feedstocks with different loadings of magnesium (Mg), aluminum (Al), and iron (Fe) metal contents. Comparative investigation indicates the Al-EBCs showed the highest aqueous stability with little metal dissolution, while Mg-EBC had the largest P adsorption capacity. The secondary treated wastewater (STWW) was used in batch sorption experiments and the results showed that the Al-EBC effectively removed P from the STWW with relatively fast kinetics and good capacity. When the engineered biochar was packed in fixed-bed columns, it also effective removed P from the real STWW. After the use, the EBC was laden with P and thus significantly stimulated seed germination and early seedling growth. EBCs have promising applications in wastewater treatment because it can not only reduce P level in discharge but also reclaim it as an agricultural fertilizer to improve P biogeochemical cycling and sustainability. Furthermore, a facile ball-milling method was successfully developed as an alternative method to synthesize MgO/biochar nanocomposites as EBC. Ball milling, as a facile and promising method, lends the advantage of operational flexibility and chemical adjustability for targeted remediation of diverse environmental pollutants. 

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/4834409121

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Title: Magnetic abrasive finishing of high-speed tool steels

Authors: Vipra Bhand, Julian Long, Hitomi Yamaguchi

Abstract: High-speed steels are used in machine tools for a variety of machining processes. The tools are required to have good strength, toughness, and wear resistance. When the tools are manufactured, the conventional surface finishing processes such as grinding generate a damaged layer on the steel material which is called as ‘white layer’. This layer is formed by the plastic deformation and thermally-induced phase transformation of the steel surface material during the finishing process. The white layer has increased hardness and brittleness than the bulk material, which makes it highly susceptible to crack formation and chipping when introduced to high-load conditions. Such properties of white layer are detrimental to the machine tools since the tool material has to withstand high dynamic loads in operation. Thus, a surface finishing method is required that can reduce the surface roughness of high-speed steels without generating a white layer.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/93652121620

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Title: Fluency in the –uh– Spanish Heritage classroom  

Authors: Marina Cuartero Marco, Maria Dominguez, Diego Pascual y Cabo

Abstract: In a conversation, pauses can mean different things: speaker is planning, having trouble, or bringing attention to their message (Cenoz, 2000). Although the study of speech disfluencies (i.e., pauses and other hesitations) has been widely investigated in L2 learning and in monolingual speech (e.g., de Jong, 2016), very little is known about these markers of oral fluency among Spanish heritage speakers (HSs). Considering that HSs are also native speakers (of the HL), the question of whether or not they conform to the expected norm is, at the very least, an interesting one. Taking this into account, in this study we are interested in examining the state of and the effect of HL instruction in the development of oral fluency among Spanish HSs. To our knowledge, this is the first of such studies. To this end, we collected data from 49 students enrolled in Spanish HL intermediate I and intermediate II classes at a southeastern university. In addition to a language background questionnaire, participants completed an experiment that consisted of watching a cartoon video and giving a verbal description of the video in Spanish. The experiment itself was arranged in a pre and post-test manner with a 14-week difference (i.e., beginning and end of the semester). We measured participant’s average of pauses per minute, and the duration average of participant’s pause type. Our results yielded a reduction of pause duration in the four categories and fewer false starts and self-corrections in the more advanced students group. 

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/99930837591

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Title: May the Force Be with Cancer

Authors: Miao Huang

Abstract: 90% of cancer death is caused by metastasis. During metastasis, invading cancer cells experience, transduce, and respond to significant mechanical stress that is applied by tissue microenvironment. Understanding the influences of mechanical stress on metastasis can inform future mechano-medicine to prevent patient death. We hypothesize that cancer cells can be activated by mechanical stretching stress in a population-size-dependent manner. To evaluate this hypothesis, we created a high-throughput stretching device to activate cancer cell colonies and quantitatively readout their mechano-sensitivity by Ca2+ signals. We confirmed that human cancer cells can indeed be activated by stretching. Efforts are underway to determine the causal relationship between tumor size and mechano-sensitivity.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/7589624522

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Title: A multilevel analysis of environmental actions in a cross-national perspective: Do Europeans do what they say? 

Authors: Ashpreet Kaur

Abstract: Sustainable development is a long-sought goal for every country and European union certainly has an edge in this race. Its decision outcomes reach far beyond its border supporting environment-related technology transfer and capacity building, enhancing policymaking and implementation of these policies and technologies in developing countries. Citizens play a great role in determining the success of the environmental policies based on various factors. Factors such as demographics, eco-friendly behavior, country level variables, knowledge, action taken, GDP, EPI etc. are studied in this paper under Hierarchical Generalized Linear Models (HGLM). The analysis is also done based on gender difference. The models showed that people who think that individuals cannot play an important role in protecting the environment are more likely to take the environmental actions. Individuals in countries with higher EPI value are more likely to take environmental actions and males have more odds of taking environmental friendly actions which is up for a debate.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/96454289902

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Title: Activated Carbon for Pharmaceutical Removal at Point-of-Entry

Authors: Michelle Finn, Gabrielle Giampietro, David Mazyck, Regina Rodriguez

Abstract: Pharmaceuticals have become an increasing problem in waterways through improper disposal and lack of removal at the wastewater treatment plant. Long term exposure impacts o human are unknown but have been observed in model organisms (i.e., fish) to impact reproduction, change temperament, and cause organ damage. The application of activated carbon (AC) for organic contaminant removal is widespread and applied successfully for water treatment. The objective of this study is to rapidly adsorb ibuprofen using AC to determine the feasibility as a point-of-entry treatment option for removal of pharmaceuticals in the toilet. AC factors analyzed include type of raw material commercial AC, adsorbent particle size, contact time, and competitive adsorption of ibuprofen and common toilet bowl cleaner components such as chlorine and methylene blue dye. A coconut-based AC with a high surface area adsorbed the highest concentration of ibuprofen. There was no significant impact to ibuprofen adsorption upon the introduction of other compounds to the solution, thus demonstrating rapid adsorption and the potential for application at the point-of-entry.

Zoom link:  https://ufl.zoom.us/j/95698416815?pwd=YWhPdUtwbVpiUTM0K1pXVWtvTlVkQT09

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Title: Enantioselective Dehydrative Lactonization of Allylic Alcohols via Chiral pi-Acid Catalysis

Authors: Arun Raj Kizhakkayil Mangadan, Ji Liu, Aaron Aponic

Abstract: A convenient strategy for the catalytic enantioselective dehydrative lactonization of allylic alcohols using a novel pi-acidic atropisomeric palladium-P,N-ligand complex of (S)-StackPhos for the synthesis of vinyl lactones is described. These optically pure vinyl lactones are abundant core skeleton found in a myriad of natural products that display an impressive range of biological activities. The method utilizes readily prepared allylic alcohols with liberation of water as the only byproduct, which also applies to the synthesis of broad range of substrates and extended to gamma-butenolides and gamma-butyrolactones. The reactions are high yielding, enantioselective, chemoselective, operationally simple, and produce heterocycles containing a synthetically useful vinyl group strategically positioned to enable transformations for target-oriented synthesis.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/91973898070?pwd=OUdsQnRyMVhPYWxMSzJwYzdXL1VWQT09

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Title: Effect of flooding depth on growth and development of fall panicum

Authors: Venkatanaga Shiva Datta Kumar Sharma Chiruvelli, D Calvin Odero

Abstract: Fall panicum is the most problematic weed in Florida rice. An outdoor experiment was conducted at the EREC, Belle Glade, FL in 2020 to evaluate the effect of depth of flooding on fall panicum growth and reproduction. The experiment was a two-way factorial, repeated-measures in RCB design with a split-plot and 4 replications. The main plot was flooding depth (10, 15, 20, and 30 cm) and the subplot was the fall panicum growth stage (2- to 4-leaf and 4- to 6-leaf stages). The plants were placed in pots and flooded at different depths maintained in 0.6 m by 0.6 m by 1.2 m troughs before removal. Flooding depth had an effect on fall panicum height for plants flooded at the 2- to the 4-leaf stage at all evaluation timings with the 30 cm having the most negative effect. In contrast, no effect on height was observed on plants flooded at the 4- to 6-leaf stage. Increasing flooding depth had a negative effect on the LAI of plants flooded at the 2- to the 4-leaf stage but had no effect on plants flooded at the 4- to 6-leaf stage. There was no effect of flooding depth on aboveground biomass accumulation of the leaf stage at flooding at 56 days. However, the 4- to 6-leaf stage plants had more aboveground biomass. A similar response was observed for belowground biomass accumulation. Fall panicum’s reproductive capacity was higher for plants flooded at a larger size. These results indicate that flooding can be effective in reducing fall panicum growth and reproduction when permanent flooding is initiated at earlier growth stages. Further studies are ongoing to corroborate these results.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/98163016287?pwd=VlRpeUxNd1V3ZDdSL2NGOXdxMWp0QT09

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Title: Variation in NUE among carinata genotypes in a controlled environment

Authors: Joseph E. Iboyi, Michael J. Mulvaney, Ramdeo Seepaul, Ian M. Small, Mahesh Bashyal, Ramon G. Leon, Pratap Devkota, Kipling S. Balkcom

Abstract: Brassica carinata, an alternative non-food oilseed crop, is used to produce aviation biofuels due to its high oil content and favorable fatty acid profile. Maximizing yield for commercial production of Brassica carinata in the southeast United States (SE US) requires management of soil nitrogen (N) availability, the quantitatively most important nutrient required for crop growth which is insufficient in soils of the SE US and must be supplied as fertilizer. To ensure the competitiveness of Brassica carinata at agronomic, environmental, and economic levels, it is necessary to develop carinata cultivars with improved N stress tolerance and high seed and oil yield under low soil N availability. This involves identifying carinata genotypes with superior nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), either by possessing a high N uptake efficiency (NUpE) or high N utilization efficiency (NUtE), or both. A greenhouse study was conducted in Quincy FL to quantify genotypic variation in NUE and to identify indicators of N efficient genotypes during 2019/2020 growing season. Seed yield, biomass, NUE, NUpE, and NUtE were compared among 16 carinata genotypes under contrasting N supplies. Preliminary results from this trial will be presented.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/4910767816 

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Title: Forming distinctions and connections between sex trafficking and sex work: A qualitative study with sex trafficking survivors and key informants

Authors: Cary Carr, Kelsea LeBeau, Kanathy Haney

Abstract: Background: Sex trafficking is a public health issue with survivors facing adverse health consequences. Sex workers also face negative health outcomes, which can be linked to its full criminalization in the U.S. and stigmatization. Due to conflicting viewpoints on sex work as it relates to trafficking, it is imperative to understand this relationship and how it can inform public health efforts.

Purpose: We examined differences between sex trafficking and sex work as perceived by survivors and key informants and analyzed how these differences can inform public health policy and practice.

Methods: A constructivist grounded theory approach was used to evaluate complexities surrounding sex trafficking and sex work. Interviews were conducted with survivors and key informants in Florida. Data collection followed a trauma-informed and social justice approach. Interviews were analyzed using the constant comparative method.

Results: Twenty-four interviews were conducted. Data analysis revealed four themes: (1) sex work related to sex trafficking, (2) differences between sex work and sex trafficking, (3) entry methods into sex work, and (4) societal views.

Conclusions: Uncertainty exists over the distinction and delineation between sex trafficking and sex work, which was underscored by the interviewees. We highlight the need for greater understanding of the relationship between sex trafficking and sex work, including enhanced screening for sex trafficking, changes in societal views, and incorporating sex workers’ voices to collaborate against human trafficking.

Zoom link:  https://ufl.zoom.us/j/93763601935

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Title: Human-Robot Teams In Industrialized Construction Networks

Authors: Mahya Sam, Dr. Bryan Franz

Abstract: The construction industry faces many workforce-related challenges, including a shortage of skilled workers and high accident and injury rates. The use of robotic technologies to augment construction workers can enable new construction techniques and work opportunities. Collaborating with robots could reduce construction costs through more precise cutting and placing actions that reduce waste. This research is an ongoing study to look at how human-robot teams form and interact on industrialized construction sites, with the specific goal of modelling the resilience of their workflow. To achieve this goal, we first explore the factors that determine whether human workers perceive construction robots as a tool or a co-worker. A questionnaire was developed to assess which characteristics of a robotic system, such as its movement and appearance, are more influential in determining how respondents view that system. The results will enable classification of robots in a meta-network analysis that examines the resilience of construction networks that incorporate human-robot teams. 

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/93169686102

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Title: Magnetic Field-Assisted Single Point Incremental Forming

Authors: Dylan Pinard, Marco Gucciardi, Livan Fratini, Gianluca Buffa, Hitomi Greenslet

Abstract: Single-Point Incremental Forming (SPIF) is a sheet metal forming technique where deformations from a round-tipped tool create a desired shape in the sheet metal. A limitation of SPIF is that the tool must approach the workpiece vertically, preventing the metal from exceeding a wall angle of 90°. This restriction in tool motion and complex shape creation is undesirable. The objective of this project is to use magnetic force to direct a magnetic tool ball in the direction in which deformation is desired, which is referred to as Magnetic SPIF, or M-SPIF, to improve upon the traditional SPIF process. Further, once a refined process for M-SPIF is created, its results will be compared to traditional SPIF.
A 12.7 mm Nd-Fe-B magnet ball was placed with lubricant on a 0.2 mm thick AA1060 aluminum workpiece. A three-magnet configuration was attached to a 6-axis robot to hold the magnet ball above the center of these driving magnets when machining and was positioned 2 mm below the workpiece. Groove tests were carried out in which multiple parameters were varied in order to determine the factors that heavily effect deformations. These tests consisted of moving the magnets in a circle while varying the clearance between the magnet and the tool ball (2 mm to 3 mm) as well as the rate at which diameter decreases per step (0.25 mm and 0.50 mm). A radial step-in size of 0.25 mm, a clearance of 2 mm, and 10 revolutions per step led to the greatest depth (10.4 mm). The findings indicate that M- SPIF can produce a deeper truncated cone, but that traditional SPIF better follows the toolpath.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/95986308480?pwd=ZVJITUE1RkVYQUx1ZDZwLzUrTFZPQT09

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Title: Long Term Efficacy Of AAV Gene-Immunotherapy Unhindered By Immunosuppression In MS Animal Model

Authors: Addelynn Sagadevan, Isabelle Côté, Cristina D. Gaddie, Geoff D. Keeler, Brad E. Hoffman

Abstract: While there is no cure for MS, current Disease Modifying Therapies (DMTs) focus on generalized immune suppression to slow disease progression. To increase the specificity, our lab has developed a novel gene immunotherapy that can selectively modulate the adverse immune response against specific myelin proteins. We have demonstrated our novel approach can not only prevent but can also reverse Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE), the animal model of MS, using an Adeno associated virus (AAV) vector expressing a specific neuro-protein. When considering the development of a clinical trial, patients are likely to be receiving a DMT or will start a treatment protocol as the established standard of care. The prevailing goal of AAV gene immunotherapy is to restore immune tolerance so that long-term continuous use of a DMT is unnecessary. As such, it is vital to ensure that the medical treatment currently being undertaken by the patient does not adversely affect the ability of our gene-immunotherapy to re-establish and maintain tolerance. Thus, it is necessary to assess the ability of our AAV vector expressing myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (AAV.MOG) to induce immunological tolerance while a patient is currently being treated with the drug Fingolimod, an established immunosuppressant used in the treatment of MS patients. Female C57BL/6 mice were induced with EAE using MOG35-55 and at first sign of clinical disease, our immunotherapy vector AAV.MOG was introduced concurrently with Fingolimod. At Day 24, all vectored mice were discontinued Fingolimod treatment whereas half of the control group receiving treatment continued receiving fingolimod and the remaining half stopped receiving treatment. By day 20 post treatment, all treated mice had recovered In a second set of experiments, female SJL mice were induced with EAE with PLP139-151. Following the first relapse, mice were started on Fingolimod and were vectored with AAV.PLP 2 weeks later. Fingolimod was rescinded two weeks after vector administration. In both experiments, vectored mice remained at an almost naïve clinical score whereas control mice displayed severe progression of EAE. Our data of concomitant administration of vector and fingolimod demonstrates a synergistic effect that results in a significant long-term reversal of disease even upon withdrawal of DMT treatment. In sum, simultaneously treatment using AAV.MOG and the DMT, fingolimod, shows no apparent inhibitory effect on the function of the vector. In fact, it appears to work synergistically to reverse disease progression and increase the effectiveness of gene-immunotherapy. In conclusion, our AAV gene-immunotherapy has significant clinical relevance as it restores a persistent and continuous immune tolerance such that long-term continuous DMT may be unnecessary for MS patients.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/99376739294

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Title: Natural history collections: a gateway to increase retention of Black undergraduate students in STEM 

Authors: Adania Flemming

Abstract: Natural history museums contain many resources, including the physical collections and the curatorial staff that care for them, though there is usually insufficient support for these collections. On the other hand, university students often seek meaningful experiences to help inform their academic studies and obtain 21st century skills. University-based natural history museums provide a unique opportunity for students to gain hands-on research and curation experience to help prepare them for careers in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), while at the same time helping to support the collections through completed research projects. A course model based on this type of mutualistic relationship between university students and collection personnel (collection staff, graduate students and professors) allows for student development in various biodiversity research areas, including ecology, evolution, conservation and systematics. The creation of Introductory Natural History (INH) courses leverages the resources of the museum and the students looking for an experiential learning opportunity that introduces them to a range of scientific and education careers. During this presentation I will outline a successful INH course model using the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida and discuss plans to use this model to increase retention of Black undergraduates in STEM. 

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/96683874257

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Title: Bats in a Box: Bringing Museums to the Classroom

Authors: Aditi Jayarajan, David Reed

Abstract: Previous research has shown that museums can be vital spaces for learning in the classroom and can be integral assests for teachers (Bonner, 1985). According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (2016), there are disparities and attrition in STEM fields (low income vs high income students). Hands-on active learning can help improve the achievement gaps in underrepresented students who are gearing towards STEM fields (Freeman et al, 2020). Art education has incorporated the use of new technologies to broaden perspectives and improve approaches in the classrooms. The use of 3-D prints and lesson development with teachers serve as a rich repository for learning and education (Menano et al, 2019). This is becoming more popular in natural history museums and adds a multisensory layer. Case studies have shown that 3-D printed objects in classrooms can inform students about concepts such as evolution and climate change (Grant et al, 2017). This highlights the potential educational benefits of using new technology on collections which are usually inaccessible to the public (Wilson et al, 2017). How can museums play a role in the 21st century using existing collections and classrooms? Phyllostomid bats are relatively diverse in feeding habits and are an ideal example for representing diverse physical adaptations (Casco, 2019). The large variation in physical features of these bats provides the ideal exemplar to demonstrate how physical features and behavior influence each other, especially to future scientists.

Zoom link:  https://ufl.zoom.us/j/93766995086

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Title: Building a Morphological Matrix for Sapindales: Finding Landeenia aralioides’ (MacGinitie) Lost Family

Authors: Julian E. Correa-Narvaez, Steven R. Manchester

Abstract: Landeenia aralioides is a fossil species appeared during the peak of climatic warming of the early Eocene in Wyoming recovered from the Eocene period of Wyoming about 49.0 million years ago, and became extinct later, possibly due to climatic cooling. The genus Landeenia has been tenatively placed in the order Sapindales; morphologically, Landeenia shares a distinct nectar disk, superior ovary, four- or five-merous calyx, typically 4–10 stamens, multiple carpels sharing a single style, and tricolpate (to tricolporate) pollen with Sapindales. Beyond this, the high number of carpels in Landeenia (~18) place it closer to the Rutaceae or Meliaceae families, which have several genera with a high carpel count; however, there are a few genera on the other families which also share a high carpel count. To better understand the relation of Landeenia in Sapindales, we are developing a morphological matrix that can better give us a better understanding of the placement of this genus within the phylogeny of this order. The matrix consists of characters from various works from studies that examined individual genera; many have to be reformed to match a wider array of possible traits. The new characters better reflect a variety of traits that have some evolutionary implications. Preliminary results from show place it closest to Kirkiaceae and Burseraceae, though many of the families, as understood from molecular data, have not been equally resolved.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/skype/96644272045

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Title: Assessing the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Agriculture in the Galapagos Islands

Authors: Emily Wheeler, Angelica Almeyda

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected farming and socio-economic systems around the world. The Galapagos Islands have experienced numerous changes as a socio-economic system due to the growing tourism industry and increasing anthropogenic pressures on natural resources. Historically, their economy has been heavily dependent on the booming tourism industry, causing residents to abandon their farmlands to pursue opportunities in the tourism sector. This land abandonment has increased invasive species distributions and reliance on imported goods, limiting the agricultural sector’s ability to provide food security for the growing human populations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry collapsed, causing the most severe economic crisis in the archipelago’s history. With limited imported goods and work in the tourism industry, residents pursued other economic activities such as farming to sustain their livelihoods. By using a high-resolution land cover map from before the pandemic occurred as a baseline, we will compare current images from PlanetScope and Sentinel-2 to assess how COVID-19 has changed the land cover of each of the four populated islands’ agricultural zones. The results from the spatial analysis will be coupled with surveys from farmers in the region to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and innovations they experienced due to COVID-19. The farmers’ perspectives represent an important stakeholder group as they are closely linked to the archipelago’s food security and ecological ecological integrity. 

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/94161513391 

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Title: “Closing the Gap” Action Plans: Infusing Advocacy Into Practicum and Internship to Teach Advocacy to School Counselors in Training

Authors: Jan Gay

Abstract: The American School Counseling Association(ASCA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA) have identified standards and competencies for Advocacy and Social Justice. Racial disparities in educational outcomes persist and professional school counselors are positioned to create systemic change and advocate for all students to succeed. The purpose of this presentation is to document the need for infusing advocacy into field experiences to provide practical experiences for school counselors in training. During the presentation, we will discuss the American School Counselor Association “Closing the Gap” action plan and “Closing the Gap” specialist training provided by ASCA. Participants will review relevant research related to racial disparities in education as well as “Prison to Pipeline” data. Participants will learn how to implement “Closing the Gap” action plans as an experiential learning project for students during practicum and internship.

Zoom link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/92010488905