“Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.” — Marston Bates

Student Research Presentations

Students conducting independent research normally present their work in poster format each April at the Department of Biology's Research Colloquium. In addition, many students also present talks at the annual Nebraska Academy of Sciences Meeting in Lincoln, or at regional or national biological society meetings.

2017 presentations

Department of Biology Research Colloquium

Mohammad Mohammad
Evaluation of cell inflammatory signaling markers and proliferation in Postn+/+ and Postn-/- PDL fibroblasts
Mohammad S. Mohammad1, Umesh Pyakurel2, Shika Tarang2, Michael D. Weston2
Creighton University · College of Arts and Sciences1 · School of Dentistry2 · School of Medicine3
Abstract
INTRODUCTION. Periostin, a highly expressed extracellular protein in the fibroblast cells of the periodontal ligament. Since PDL fibroblast cells have shown an important role regarding inflammatory communication, we hypothesized that clear inflammatory gene expression differences will be evident between Postn+/+ WT and Postn-/- KO in PDL fibroblasts. Periostin also has a bearing on the proliferation of fibroblast cells. We hypothesized Postn-/- KO PDL fibroblasts cells will have different rate in cellular proliferation. METHODS. Using genetically engineered mice, RNAs were isolated from mandibles of Postn+/+ and Postn-/- KO mice that includes PDL fibroblasts and Q-RTPCR was used to quantitate levels of inflammatory genes. Immunohistochemistry was performed to identify discrete mitotic fibroblast figures by staining for Ki67 protein to assess cellular proliferation during interphase. RESULTS.  We are currently completing both the RT-PCR and immunohistochemical analysis using mouse oral tissue. CONCLUSIONS.  The inability to generate Postn+/+ WT PDL fibroblasts compared to Postn-/- KO affirms the difference in cell-matrix interactions due to the lack of Periostin.    
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Kathleen Marinelli
The Association between FDG-PET Imaging and Disease Activity in Takayasu's Arteritis
Kathleen C. Marinelli*, Mark A. Ahlman**, Ali C. Civelek** and Peter C. Grayson*
*Systemic Autoimmunity Branch, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases **Clinical Center, Department of Radiology & Imaging Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
Abstract
Takaysu’s Arteritis (TAK) is a form of large vessel vasculitis characterized by inflammation of the aorta and primary branches. 18Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography with CAT-scan (FDG-PET) imaging is useful in detecting vascular inflammation. Serial FDG-PET scans were performed in a cohort of twenty-six patients with TAK during periods of clinically-defined active disease and subsequent clinical remission. Vascular inflammation on FDG-PET was qualitatively and semi-quantitatively defined based upon nuclear medicine physician interpretation. A novel method to measure vascular uptake on FDG-PET was developed. Clinical assessment did not always correlate with FDG-PET findings. Vascular imaging and clinical assessment capture different aspects of disease activity in TAK.   
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Fatiha Iqbal
Bitter taste receptor agonists inhibit pulmonary fibroblast cell growth and differentiation
F. Iqbal, S. Wang, Y. Tu
Department of Pharmacology, Creighton University 
Abstract
Pulmonary fibrosis occurs when the lung tissue becomes scarred and thick, which makes it difficult for subjects to breathe and their lungs to work properly. Recent studies have shown that the bitter taste receptors (TAS2Rs) in bronchial cells can cause the relaxation of airways, and have an antimitogenic effect on airway smooth muscle cells. In the bronchi, two of the TAS2Rs agonists, strychnine and chloroquine, have been reported to lead to relaxation. The purpose of our study was to expand on these two compounds with similar structures to bitter taste receptor agonists to see if  they could inhibit the proliferation and differentiation of human fibroblasts isolated from normal subjects. Normal fibroblast cells were obtained from humans and cell growth, differentiation and immunofluorescence experiments were conducted. After obtaining the results, we find that there is a relationship between strychnine and chloroquine and the fibroblasts.   
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Christie Dang
Reproductive development in the flowering plant Stuckenia pectinata
C. L. Dang, M. L. Taylor
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
In angiosperms, water-pollination is an exceedingly rare pollination mechanism and is thought to have evolved from wind-pollination. Few studies have investigated the progamic phase, the stage between pollination and fertilization, in water-pollinated species, despite being a crucial part of the reproductive process. The goal of this study is to investigate reproductive development in the water-pollinated species Stuckenia pectinata.  To accomplish this goal, inflorescence development was characterized, timing of pollen reception and pollen reception was investigated, and natural pollen loads were documented. Pollen can be received when the inflorescence is out of the sheath, but stigmas are still partially covered by tepals, but pollen germination does not occur until tepals are reflexed. Pollen loads are typically large, averaging approximately 70 pollen grains per flower. These findings will be compared to closely related water-pollinated species, providing a better understanding of reproductive traits associated with water-pollination.   
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Michael Barry
Observations on the Mating Behavior of Adult Horsehair Worms (Paragordius varius)
Michael Barry and John Shea, SJ, Ph.D
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Paragordius varius is parasitic species of worm, commonly known as the horsehair worm. Larvae from this species infect a transport host where they encyst. A terrestrial insect, usually a cricket, ingests these cysts, which develop into worms. When the worm matures into adulthood it manipulates the cricket’s behavior such that it seeks out bodies of water where the adult can emerge and begin its search for a mate. It is currently unclear how adult worms locate each other. To study this, we performed a series of trials to determine if these mate encounters occur randomly or non-randomly. We placed pairs of adult worms (male-female, male-male or female-female) in opposite corners of a tank and recorded the time to their first encounter. If adults encounter each other non-randomly then males and females should encounter each other faster than same-sex pairs. Data from 68 trials followed a trend of non-random encounters and indicated that male worms were more active in the mate-seeking process. Males also initiated copulatory behavior. By establishing mating as non-random, a future set of trials will determine if pheromone secretion is the mechanism through which the worms locate a mate.    
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Lindsey Mack
Effects of nutrition and disease on seminal fluid products in crickets 
L. Mack and A. Worthington
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
I plan to study how poor nutrition and disease affect the ability of male house crickets (Acheta domesticus) to package the fitness-enhancing compound, prostaglandin, in their ejaculates. Prostaglandin is an essential fatty acid required by nearly all animals and has similar functions across species. For example, prostaglandin aids in egg laying and egg production, and plays a role in the immune response. Using various lab techniques, I will gain a better understanding of how life history trade-offs between survival and reproduction in males can influence female fitness. While research has shown a strong connection between transfer of prostaglandin from male to female and the increased female fitness this causes, there has been no research on what factors affect how much of this highly useful substance a male is willing to provide his mate. Using the house cricket (Acheta domesticus) as a model, I will test if a trade-off between survival and reproduction exists, and whether it affects the ability of males to provide this fitness-enhancing seminal fluid product to females.   
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Ana Wilden
Post-Pollination Development in Ruppia maritima (Ruppiaceae, Alismatales)
A.E. Wilden*, C.L. Dang*, B.L. Giffei**, K.M. Altrichter***, and M.L. Taylor*
*Creighton University, Department of Biology, **University of California, Davis, Department of Plant Sciences, and ***North Dakota State University, School of Natural Resource Sciences.
Abstract
Ruppia maritima is an aquatic angiosperm found in brackish environments worldwide.  R. maritima exhibits a unique form of pollination called hydrophily (water pollination), in which pollen is released at the surface of the water and travels in rafts to receptive stigmas. This mode of pollination may have consequences for post-pollination development, but little is known about post-pollination development in hydrophilous plants.  The goal of the study was to investigate the reproductive development of R. maritima.  The stigma is receptive at developmental stage 3 inflorescences; however, pollen germination did not occur until inflorescences were stage 4 and stage 5.  Pollen germination occurred within 5 minutes after pollination and the majority of pollen grains germinated within 15 minutes following hand pollinations. Pollen tube growth first entered the ovule 45 minutes after pollination but by 60 minutes after pollination a majority of ovules had been entered.  The mean length of the pollen tube pathway was 268 ±46 µm, and the average pollen to ovule ratio was 5872 ± 2079 (n=52).  Self-pollination and fertilization were also examined in R. maritima.  Characterizing the reproductive development of R. maritima will provide data for a comparative analysis of reproductive biology in water pollinated plants. This will result in a better understanding of the evolutionary consequences of the transition to hydrophily on reproductive processes and structures.    
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John Leong
Increased neural MIR124 and AKT activation is associated with microglial induced neurogenesis 
J Leong, S. Yackley, N. Mathy, and A. Shibata
Department of Biology, Creighton University, Creighton University School of Medicine 
Abstract
Microglia perform phagocytic and secretory functions during immune responses in the CNS. They are able to differentiate into polarized states that range from neurotoxic inflammatory states to anti-inflammatory neuroregenerative states. Microglial states are influenced by environmental signals. In this study, we use our previously developed in vitro model system to investigate the neuroregeneative microglial responses stimulated by soluble signals released from damaged cortical neurons. This system activates microglia grown on Transwell™ membranes suspended above mechanically damaged or undamaged primary neuronal cultures. We have shown using immunofluorescent and western blot analyses that microglia stimulated by damaged cortical neurons enhance neurogenesis. This enhanced neurogenesis activates both the MAPK and AKT intracellular signaling pathway but only inhibition of the AKT pathway specifically reduces neurogenesis. RTPCR analysis of microRNA expression in neurons stimulated with activated microglia show that microglia responding to damaged neurons significantly increased miRNA124 whose expression is known to enhance the AKT pathway. Take together these results provide additional insight into the mechanism by which activated microglia stimulate neurogenesis.   
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Rachel Busselman, Peter Goeckner and Lauren Pipitone
Effects of Environmental Enrichment on Behavioral Inhibition Following Nicotine Exposure in Adolescence 
M. Wolfe, N. Chacho, J. Greisen, P. Goeckner, R. Busselman, L. Pipitone, C. Wunsch and D.J. Stairs
Psychology Department, Creighton University
Abstract
Despite significant effort of campaigns to decrease tobacco use, smoking tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. It has been well established that tobacco use is associated with a diminished ability to inhibit behavior. Behavioral inhibition is one aspect of impulsivity in which the subject must withhold a response to receive a reinforcer. This study explored if environmental enrichment altered behavioral inhibition in differentially reared rats following nicotine exposure in adolescence. Significant differences were seen in responding rates of animals in the enriched and isolated conditions, indicating an effect of environmental enrichment on behavioral inhibition.   
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Madison McCulloch
Effects of restored prairie, smooth brome and soybean land cover on soil properties at Glacier Creek Preserve in eastern Nebraska
M. McCulloch*, M. A. Vinton**
*Department of Biology, Creighton University**Department of Biology and Environmental Science Program, Creighton University  
Abstract
Tallgrass prairie covered 170 million acres of the U.S.; today less than 1% remains. Most has been lost due to land conversion to croplands because of the highly fertile soil, and what little prairie remains can suffer from nonnative encroachment by species like smooth brome. Our study investigated how soil physical, chemical and microbial properties differed between a restored tallgrass prairie, smooth brome monoculture and soybean field on Glacier Creek Preserve near Omaha, NE. Soil samples were collected along a transect through all three communities, and data on soil moisture, bulk density, carbon respiration, nitrogen mineralization and microbial community via BIOLOG EcoPlate were collected. Smooth brome soil had the highest moisture, bulk density, and carbon respiration, followed by the prairie soil. Soybean soil had the lowest percent moisture, bulk density, and carbon respiration. Prairie soil had the most diverse microbial community metabolic profile and the highest level of activity, while the soybean field had the least.  Our results suggest conversion of prairie to cropland in addition to invasion of smooth brome can have significant effects on soil carbon and nitrogen pools as well as on the diversity of the soil microbial community.   
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Anissa Zimmerman
From point mutations to fibrillization in prion proteins: a comparative study across mammalian species
N Yoshida*A Zimmerman*Dr. P Soto
Department of Biology, Department of Physics, NIH INBRE grant
Abstract
Prion proteins (PrPc) are mammalian glycoproteins capable of self replication and propagation. Under pathological conditions, the infectious isoform of the prion (PrPSc) causes fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathies  (prion diseases) in mammals, including humans. The molecular factors that determine PrPc to PrPSc conversion are not well understood. Previous studies have shown that some mammalian species develop the disease more easily than others and that transfer between species is less efficient than transfer within species.The efficiency of prion disease transmission across species is dependent on the target host, the species involved, and the cellular environment, among other factors. The globularly-shaped C-terminal of PrPc displays well conserved secondary structure across mammal species in spite of the presence of point mutations. Our focus is understanding the extent of how PrPc primary sequence determines the misfolding pathways and subsequent aggregation of PrPSc. This structural bioinformatics study examines the key differences in PrPc primary sequence across a number of mammal species, as well as their propensity for misfolding and fibrillization. Results from our investigation suggest that point mutations correlate with PrPc to PrPSc conversion propensity and infectivity, and modulate the stability of prion protein derived hexapeptide fibrils. We propose the mechanism for fibrillogenesis is PrPc primary sequence specific.   
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Willie Shearon
Can female house crickets use male-derived prostaglandin to boost their immune response?
W. Shearon, L. Mack, and A. Worthington
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
In crickets, prostaglandin facilitates the immune response and its concentration positively relates to the number of eggs laid. Studies show that prostaglandin is included in seminal fluid from males during mating. This project is in progress. Female crickets were mated. 24 hours after mating, they were then injected with either bacteria, Serratia marcescens, or phosphate buffered solution as the control. 48 hours after the injection, the sperm storage organ (spermatheca) was removed from the cricket and placed in ethanol solution. Upon completion of the data collection, we will use an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay to determine how much prostaglandin remained in the spermathecae at the time of death. We believe that females injected with bacteria will use the prostaglandin from mating to defeat the infection, leaving less prostaglandin in the spermatheca.    
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Mitch Kinkor
Fertilizer Impact on Shoot Growth and Rooting Ability of African Marigolds (Tagetes erecta L.)
M Kinkor, N TeBockhorst
Kemin Industries Specialty Crop Improvement
Abstract
Shoot height and rooting ability play a significant role in the ultimate success or failure of an African marigold that is transplanted from a cell of a seedling tray to the field. The experiment investigated the impact of different fertilizers and environmental treatments on the ultimate shoot height and rooting ability (as indicated by root mass) of each marigold after 6 weeks. While the marigolds are growing in the seedling cell trays, they are fertilized so they can be provided with the nutrients they need to grow optimally. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are used in different ratios in different variations of NPK fertilizer. In addition to choice of fertilizer, environmental treatment can greatly impact a marigold’s shoot height and rooting ability. Plants grown exclusively in a greenhouse environment will have different physical properties than those grown with exposure to external conditions. This research will provide valuable feedback as to whether those differences in fertilizer treatment and environmental treatment positively or negatively impact shoot height and rooting ability of African marigolds.   
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Henry Mishek
Pigment Characterization & Optimization of Internalization in Gemmata obscuriglobus
H.P. Mishek*, J.D. Franke*
*Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Gemmata obscuriglobus is a poorly understood freshwater prokaryote that belongs to the Planctomycete phylum of bacteria. It has several unusual features for a prokaryote including a complex endomembrane system and membrane coat proteins that allow it to internalize folded proteins in a process similar to eukaryotic endocytosis. Internalization of green fluorescent protein (GFP) was observed only under specific growth conditions. When assaying individual cells, under any growth conditions tested, the presence of internalized protein was never greater than 20% of the cell population. Experiments aimed at generating a better minimal media for Gemmata growth will hopefully lead to optimization of internalization of folded proteins. While not unique to microorganisms, G. obscuriglobus cells and colonies have a characteristic pink pigmentation. We found that pigment deficient mutants, when co-cultured with fungi, restored the pigmentation defect. We tested this relationship on agar plates as well as in liquid media.   
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Keelin Murphy
Animal Care Internship at Oceans of Fun
N/A
Oceans of Fun
Abstract
through my internship at Oceans of Fun, I was able to develop a better understanding of how zoological facilities are run, about animal care, and develop my public speaking skills. I was closely mentored by marine mammal trainers and was taught about marine mammal life. Specifically, I had the opportunity to learn about California sea lions and harbor seals. Through this experience I learned about conservation as well as conducted research of my choosing. Under the supervision of the marine mammal staff at Oceans of Fun, I conducted research about the social dynamic of a pinniped population, specifically how a juvenile and donate male sea lion in captivity differ in their behavior from those sea lions out in the wild. I found that the behaviors of the sea lions at the Oceans of Fun facility mirror those out in the wild.    
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Sara Knowles
The Role of Catalase in the Ketogenic Diet
Sara Knowles*, Sarah Budney**, Vikash Kansal**, Timothy Simeone**
*Department of Biology, Creighton University **Department of Pharmacology, Creighton University School of Medicine
Abstract
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disease in the United States. Unfortunately, 30% of patients are resistant to anti-seizure medication and have refractory epilepsy (RE). The ketogenic diet (KD), is an effective non-surgical treatment for RE. The KD is high in fat and low in carbohydrates and protein. In RE patients, the KD has been effective, reducing seizures by more than 50% in the majority of cases. Oxidative stress has been implicated in epileptic seizure induction and propagation. Our lab has shown that the anti-seizure effects of the KD are related to the nuclear expression of the transcription factor peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARγ). In particular, the splice variant PPARγ2 is upregulated. However, the downstream targets of PPARγ2 with KD treatment are unknown. We hypothesize that the antioxidant gene catalase is increased in the KD via PPARγ2. We used qRT-PCR, Western Blotting, and an enzymatic assay to assess Catalase. We found that KD treatment downregulated catalase mRNA and upregulated protein in Kv1.1 mice. These changes did not occur in PPARγ2 mice. Catalase protein appears to be regulated by the KD. However, Kv1.1 catalase expression is decreased, which may reflect depletion of the mRNA pool due to increased translation.    
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Dayton Oki
Leaf anatomy of Barclaya kuntsleri and Barclaya motleyi.
D. Oki, R. Nguyen, and M. L. Taylor.
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Barclaya is a genus consisting of four aquatic plant species found in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. Barclaya plants typically grow on the edges of the river banks. Little is known about the leaves of Barclaya and leaf anatomy in the genus has not been extensively investigated since the 19th century. The objective of this study is to comparatively study the leaves of two species, Barclaya kuntsleri and Barclaya motleyi, in order to understand how leaf morphology and anatomy are influenced by the environments in which they grow.     
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Christopher Pachulski
BenthoTorch estimates of microbenthic algae pigment densities in Sapelo salt marsh communities
Jana R. Pearce*, Christopher J. Pachulski**, and John F. Schalles**
*Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602, **Biology Department, Creighton University, Omaha, NE  68178
Abstract
The recent development of the BenthoTorch instrument, which uses pigment-specific fluorescence for measuring benthic algal concentrations, provided an opportunity for large-scale surveys of microbenthic algae at Sapelo Island, GA. Within salt marsh ecosystems, microbenthic algae function as primary producers, are a major source of carbon in food webs, and act as sediment stabilizers. This study asked: Do microbenthic algae densities vary in different salt marsh habitat?  If so, are the differences relatable to abiotic drivers and/or vegetation covers and ecology?   Vegetation habitat types were distinguished based on dominant vegetative cover. Unvegetated (salt pan, bare marsh soil, and  intertidal mud) habitats were also surveyed.  Measurements were made at 3 times: late June, mid July, and late July. In addition to BenthoTorch measurements at 1156 locations, vegetation canopy height (vegetated locations), soil temperature, and overhead and oblique photos were obtained at each sample site. Intertidal mud and tall-form Spartina habitats had substantially higher microbenthic algae Chl a levels than the 11 other habitat types. Overall, the spatial, habitat-specific patterns suggest that canopy shading and greater tidal immersions at lower elevations protect microbenthic algae from soil hypersalinization and overheating and likely provide higher inorganic nutrient supplies.    
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2016 presentations

Department of Biology Research Colloquium

Wilson Blomberg and Stephen Stock
Analysis of Pigmentation in Wild Type and Fungal Colored Gemmata obscuriglobus
Stephen A. Stock, Jacqueline D.E. Florick, Wilson R. Blomberg, *Dr. D. David Smith and Dr. Josef D. Franke
Department of Biology, Creighton University*Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University
Abstract
Gemmata obscuriglobus is a poorly understood freshwater prokaryote that belongs to the Planctomycete phylum of bacteria. While not unique to microorganisms, G. obscuriglobus cells and colonies have a characteristic pink pigmentation. Reverse phase-HPLC was conducted to separate different pigment molecules for molecular identification. Sorry but the system is not functioning to count words correctly. In MS word our abstract is 180. I've tried four times and the error message has ranged from 220 words to 290 words for the same abstract.   
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Manaswita Tappata
Investigating the potential role of long non-coding RNA in microglial polarity
M. Tappata, A. Shibata
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
We have established an in vitro system to address an important issue that differential expression of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) regulates microglial plasticity determining whether microglia function as pro-inflammatory (M1), neurogenic (M2), or homeostatic surveillance cells. Our preliminary data suggest microglia responding to damaged neurons acquire an M2 phenotype expressing higher levels of M2 markers CD206 and Arg1, and lower levels of M1 markers CD45 and MHCII. Media from co-cultured microglia and damaged neurons contains a significant decrease in M1 neurotoxic cytokines IFN-g and TNFa, and a 23+/-2.5% increase in the M2 neurogenic cytokine MCP-1. Reactive nitrogen species (RNS) production by homeostatic microglia was 2.20+/-0.06 mM and by M2 microglia was 1.26+/-0.09 mM differing from RNS production by M1 microglia (6.05+/-0.06 mM) as measured by Greiss reaction. RTPCR analysis is being performed to verify ELISA data regarding the M1 and M2 states. We have demonstrated that the long intergenic ncRNA (lincRNA), lincRNA-Cox2 is an early–primary gene controlled by NF-κB signaling in M1 microglia, suggesting that other lncRNAs may be involved in microglia plasticity and polarization. LncRNAs may be critical mediators of microglial plasticity and may participate in pathogenesis of various inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases making them targets for therapeutic interventions.   
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Troy Rowan
Buggy Creek virus distribution and dynamics in swallow bugs (Oeciacus vicarius) in cliff  swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) colonies in Southeast Nebraska and Southwest Iowa
T.N. Rowan and C.A. Fassbinder-Orth
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Alphaviruses are positive sense RNA viruses carried by arthropods that are responsible for a number of diseases in vertebrates. Buggy Creek Virus (BCRV) is an alphavirus that is transmitted to birds by the cimicid swallow bug (Oeciacus vicarius) via infestation of the birds’ nests. It is hypothesized that in times of high stress (such as in overwintering bugs), BCRV produces incomplete particles called defective interfering (DI) particles that prevent assembly of the wild type phenotype. We located five active cliff swallow colonies with swallow bugs and tested for the presence of BCRV over time and in different age classes of swallow bugs. Viral RNA was detected via RT-PCR. We saw a positive correlation between cliff swallow nesting activity and swallow bug populations, as well as detectable BCRV. BCRV levels decreased 52% in bug pools immediately after cliff swallows left our sites. Our results indicate that BCRV persistence in swallow bugs is highly dependent on the presence of cliff swallows, with peak BCRV RNA being detected during the nesting season. Future work is needed to determine the genomic structure of BCRV isolates from swallow bugs and to confirm involvement of DI particles in the viral dynamic patterns observed in this project.   
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Allison Hanser
Parasites as an Ecological Barometer
A. Hanser, S. Hagen, J Shea*, R. Gaspar**, R. West***
*Department of Biology, Creighton University**Department of Mathematics, Creighton University ***Department of Mammalogy, Oglala Lakota College
Abstract
Internal parasites have lifecycles involving multiple, specific hosts. Therefore, observing levels of internal parasite infestation of small mammals—a key part of most food webs--could be used as a general measure of an ecosystem’s health. This project involves examining small rodents, mainly mice, for internal parasites at two different sites on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in cooperation with Red Cloud High School and Oglala Lakota College, Yellow Bear Dam and Piya Wiconi. The former is more natural and less disturbed by human influence while the latter is more disturbed. We predict higher levels of infection in less disturbed environments than in more disturbed.    
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Tyler Jones
Effects of varying nitrate levels on water preference of Physa spp.
T. Jones*, J. Tinant**, R. West**, R. Gasper***, J.F. Shea*
*Department of Biology, Creighton University**Math, Science, and Technology Department, Oglala Lakota College***Department of Mathematics, Creighton University
Abstract
Nitrate (NO3-), an important factor in both the natural cycling of nitrogen and in agriculture, impacts aquatic ecosystems. Nitrate promotes growth of algae, a food source for aquatic snails (Physa spp.), but relatively few studies have tested snail preference for water with varying levels of nitrate. We collected snails from sites that varied in nitrate levels and tested their preference. By placing a snail between two dishes of water with different nitrate concentrations, we observed in which dish the snail moved. We predicted that snails would prefer lower nitrate concentrations, but found no correlation between nitrate concentration and snail behavior.   
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Rachel Nelson
Association of Itga8 and Pcdh15 in mechanotransduction
R. Nelson
Functional Genetics Laboratory, Boys Town National Research Hospital 
Abstract
Usher syndrome is genetic disorder that affects neurosensory cells in the retina and inner ear.  In the cochlea, Usher syndrome results in stereocilia abnormalities and hair cells dysfunction.  Zebrafish have hair cells homologous to those in the human cochlea in neuromasts of their lateral line.  The lateral line is a sensory system that aids in schooling, swimming, and feeding by sensing movements in the water.  Our research aims to investigate the association between the Usher type I protein, Pcdh15, and Itga8 in hair cell stereocilia.  Studying a connection between these two proteins will give us another “clue” in delineating the mechanotransduciton pathway and its role in Usher Syndrome.  We found an Itga8/Pcdh15a interdependency, contributing to the regulation of mechanotransduction channel activity in the stereocilia.  Zebrafish moprhants for Pcdh15a or Itga8 have impaired mechanotransduction activity, determined by FM1-43 uptake. This phenotype can be partially rescued by Rhoad, a downstream effector of Itga8. Altogether the results presented here point to the existence of a Pcd15a/Itga8 complex that regulates mechanotransduction activity through, at least in part, Rhoad activation.       
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Jonathan Fleegel
Vitamin D deficiency in keratinocytes induces DNA damage mediated pro-apoptotic functions through phosphorylation of RB. 
Jonathan P. Fleegel, Chandra S. Boosani, and Devendra K. Agrawal
Department of Clinical and Translational Science, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, NE, 68178 USA 
Abstract
The role of Vitamin-D in modulating DNA damage induced apoptosis in keratinocytes was evaluated. Microswine were grouped as Vitamin-D deficient or sufficient. Animals in the sufficient group received 2000 IU of Cholecalciferol for six months. Histological analyses of skin showed oxidative DNA damage in the deficient group indicating Vitamin-D supplementation protects skin from oxidative DNA damage. To understand the mechanism, cultured human keratinocytes were tested for expression of Retinoblastoma (RB). RB phosphorylation at S807/S811 was observed in Vitamin-D deficiency. Phosphorylation of RB was inhibited up to 4 hrs of treatment with Calcitriol. Cholecalciferol treatment did not induce this phosphorylation of RB. CDK4 binds to the C-terminal region of RB and inactivates it by phosphorylating at S807/S811 in healthy cells, preventing RB binding to DP1 and E2F1 inhibiting cellular entry into S-phase. With DNA damage in keratinocytes; the interaction of RB with E2F1 persists leading to transcriptional activation of pro-apoptotic genes. These results cumulatively suggest that RB mediates induction of apoptosis through RB-E2F1 complex in Vitamin-D deficient swines in response to DNA damage, and during Vitamin-D deficiency, CHK1 and CHK2 are activated which interact with RB and induce cellular apoptosis contributing to the decrease in cell density in the epidermis.   
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Hannah Brown
Nature’s remedies: Urease inhibition in the urinary tract pathogen Staphylococcus saprophyticus by organic compounds 
H.R. Brown, C.J. Houlihan, and C. E. Deutch
Department of Biology, Creighton University 
Abstract
The enzyme urease has been shown to be a virulence factor for the Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus saprophyticus, an important cause of urinary tract infections. The susceptibility of the enzyme to inhibition by several natural compounds was determined using a colorimetric assay based on ammonium formation. Curcumin, a compound derived from turmeric, inhibited urease activity. However, curcumin’s nonpolar nature decreased its solubility in the solvents utilized, and consequently limited its inhibitory potential. Green tea extract exhibited strong inhibition, but the specific inhibitory compound in the extract has yet to be determined. In addition, an extract from Uva ursi was found to effectively inhibit urease activity. Arbutin, one of the compounds in the extract found in previous studies to inhibit urease activity, exhibited no inhibition of the urease enzyme in S. saprophytic. However, further research found that gallic acid, another compound in the Uva ursi extract, was the major contributor of urease inhibition as evidenced by a standalone assay. Cranberry extract was tested for inhibition and exhibited no inhibition of S. saprophyticus urease activity. These results suggest that, curcumin, green tea, Uva ursi, and gallic acid might be potential antibiotics for treating urinary tract infections caused by S. saprophyticus.   
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Daniel Dean
Carbon Substrate Utilization in Omaha Rain Garden Soil Communities
Daniel Dean ; Dr. Mary Ann Vinton
Creighton University Biology Department, Creighton University Environmental Sciences Department
Abstract
            A key environmental problem with urban, impermeable landscapes is high runoff of water and pollutants.  Rain gardens are an expanding green infrastructure countermeasure, improving water infiltration and quality.  Soil metabolic processes are thought to play a significant role in this functional capacity. We studied microbial communities from Omaha’s Douglas Street rain gardens, evaluating metabolic functional diversity (indexed by carbon substrate utilization) as affected by spatial position and plant location in the gardens. Our data suggest a positive correlation between functional diversity and plant root presence among well-drained soil profiles, corroborating existing plant management techniques and laying groundwork for further investigation.   
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Christie Dang, Bridget Giffei and Ana Wilden
Reproductive Development in the Aquatic Species Ruppia maritima
B.L. Giffei, C.L. Dang, A.E. Wilden, and M.L. Taylor
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Ruppia maritima is an aquatic angiosperm found in brackish waters globally. Ruppia exhibits water pollination, in which pollen grains are transported across the water surface in pollen rafts to receptive stigmas. The transition to hydrophily is known to be accompanied by modifications in pollen structure, but the consequences of this evolutionary transition for reproductive development are not well-understood. The goal was to characterize reproductive development in Ruppia, focusing on the progamic phase, the life history phase between pollen germination to fertilizationNaturally-pollinated flowers were collected to determine reproductive timing. To determine the rate of pollen germination and pollen tube growth, immature flowers were collected and kept in individual aquaria until stigmas became receptive. The flowers were then hand-pollinated and collected at intervals of 5 to 15 minutes after pollination. Carpels were stained and imaged using fluorescence microscopy to determine the proportion of germinated pollen grains and the length of the longest leading pollen tube. We found that stigma receptivity precedes and overlaps anther dehiscence. Pollen grains germinated within five minutes after pollination and fertilization was achieved within an hour after pollination. Stigmas treated with self-pollen experienced germination, suggesting that plants can self-fertilize, improving the chance for reproductive success.   
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Elizabeth Walsh
The role of plant litter in invasion: smooth brome in tallgrass prairie.
E. Walsh, M. A. Vinton.
Creighton University Environmental Science Program and Creighton University Department of Biology
Abstract
Tallgrass prairies once covered over 170 million acres of North America, but less than 2.4% remains today. With so few prairies left, it is of the utmost importance to conserve and restore tallgrass prairie.  However, the conservation of tallgrass prairies has been inhibited by the invasion of non-native species, such as Bromus inermis (smooth brome). My research is centered on the role that plant litter may play in allowing smooth brome to invade tallgrass prairies.  Specifically, I tested whether or not smooth brome litter suppresses germination of native species. I examined germination rates of the native grass, Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) and the horticultural species, Brassica in both a field and greenhouse experiment in plots that were either covered with smooth brome litter or plots that were left bare. In these experiments, more seedlings initially germinated in litter plots than in bare plots. But seedlings that eventually germinated in the bare plots had higher rates of survival. Ultimately, the litter altered the light and moisture conditions available to the seeds which may have increased initial germination but suppressed long term germination. Thus, litter may play an important role in smooth brome’s invasion of tallgrass prairies through its suppression of native seedlings.   
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Julia Chowdhury
Acute Effects of Electronic Cigarette Vapor on Mice
J. Chowdhury, C. Kieffer, P. Abel
Department of Pharmacology, Creighton University School of Medicine
Abstract
This study establishes a mouse model to analyze the acute effects of e-cigarettes. The effects of Vuse e-cigarette vapor were measured by locomotor activity in an open-field test and changes in heart rate variability using an electrocardiogram (ECG) system. I hypothesize that exposure to e-cigarette vapor will result in increased heart rate and locomotor activity. Female CF-1 mice over six weeks in age were placed in a small chamber and exposed to vapor from an e-cigarette for one hour. The control mouse was placed in isolation for one hour. An open-field test was used to record locomotor activity. The activity of a single mouse, as measured by infrared beam breaks, was recorded for thirty minutes, before and after exposure to an E-cigarette. Some mice were placed on the ECGenie to record their ECG to determine heart rate variability instead of measuring their locomotor activity. The results concluded that acute exposure to e-cigarettes did not affect locomotor activity or long-term variability but did increase heart rate. More consistent trials are needed to improve the accuracy of the results.     
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Emily Patton
Effects of Nicotine on Neural Crest Cell Migration in Chicken Embryos (Stages 12-14)
E. Patton*, E. Peterson*, M. Reedy*
*Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Evident as early as development, nicotine induces drastic effects in organisms. Preliminary studies suggest neural crest cells to be sensitive to low-dose nicotine exposure during embryonic development. Using chicken as a model organism, this study aims to clarify nicotine’s effects on neural crest cells. Fertilized eggs were injected with nicotine or isotonic buffering solution 24 hours after development started. After collection at 48 hours, embryos were labeled with a fluorescently-labeled antibody specific to neural crest cells, imaged, and characterized using double-blind methods. The results may support preventative or therapeutic medical applications concerning human maternal care.   
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Prem Vichienwanitchkul
Satellite Data Algorithm Development to Predict Black Mangrove Cover and Abundance Before and After a Freeze at Redfish Bay, Texas
P. Vichienwanitchkul and J.F. Schalles
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
This research project uses satellite and field survey data to understand the development of mangrove forests in Redfish Bay, Texas. In February 2011, the area experienced freezing, which killed and stunted growth of mangroves in the region. Field measurements were done in transects after the freeze with high resolution imagery to map Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans) distribution, canopy height, and growth response. Additional field data were collected in 2014 to document change and growth patterns. Additionally, remote sensing analysis of multispectral imagery from WorldView-2 (DigitalGlobe, Inc.) was conducted before and after the freeze.Raw Satellite imagery was processed with ENVI for geographic and atmospheric correction. Corrections were evaluated based on the corrected imagery spectra of mangroves versus close-range measured canopy reflectance with an Ocean Optics USB2000 spectroradiometer. Satellite pixel corresponding to field data GPS coordinate was extracted from each image for analysis using vegetation indices. The aim of the study is to be able to use satellite imagery to predict mangrove spread into Northern Gulf of Mexico coastal wetlands. The mangrove invasion displaces salt marsh communities including wildlife such as the endangered Whooping Crane (Grus canadensis).   
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Henry Mishek
Internalization Assays & Pigment Characterization in Gemmata obscuriglobus
H.P. Mishek, S. Stock, D. Smith*, J. Franke**
*Creighton University School of Medicine and ** Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Gemmata obscuriglobus is a poorly understood freshwater prokaryote that belongs to the Planctomycete family. It has several unusual features for a prokaryote. These include a complex endomembrane system, and membrane coat proteins that allow it to internalize folded proteins in a process similar to eukaryotic endocytosis. Internalization of green fluorescent protein (GFP) was observed only under specific growth conditions. When assaying individual cells, under any growth conditions tested, the presence of internalized protein was never greater than 20% of the cell population. We developed a colony-based internalization assay in which internalization was observed in >95% of colonies using M1 media and agar plates. Using this assay, we are screening for internalization mutants to better characterize the cellular mechanisms behind native protein internalization. While not unique to microorganisms, G. obscuriglobus cells and colonies have a characteristic pink pigmentation. We found that G. obscuriglobus does not employ these carotenoid pigments to protect itself from UV light oxidation, or to induce cell death in competing microorganisms. Reverse phase-HPLC was conducted to separate different carotenoid pigment molecules for molecular identification. Individual fractions were collected, then subjected to atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) mass spectrometry to determine the masses of the molecules in each fraction.   
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Emily Peterson
Effects of low-dose nicotine exposure on neural crest cell migration in stage 8-10 chicken embryos.
E. Peterson*, E. Patton*, M. Reedy*
*Department of Biology, Creighton University 
Abstract
Despite the health risks, many women smoke during pregnancy. Nicotine replacement therapy is often prescribed to aid in smoking cessation. However, previous research has indicated the teratogenic effects of low doses of nicotine, both early in embryonic development and at later stages. Neural crest cells are a population of cells that migrate throughout the embryo and contribute to development of many structures, including parts of the nervous system, facial cartilage, and cardiac cells. I examined the effects of low-dose nicotine exposure on neural crest cell migration early in development using fluorescent antibody labeling of neural crest cells.   
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Adam Kotula
Mechanistic investigation of natural products and extracts for potential riboswitch ligands
Adam Kotula1 Samantha Stoupa1, Shelby Lennon1, Heidi Klem1, and Juliane K. Soukup1,2
1Department of Chemistry, Creighton University, 2500 California Plaza, Omaha, NE  681782Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University School of Medicine, 2500 California Plaza, Omaha, NE 68178  
Abstract
In biochemistry, ligands bind to biological molecules for a variety of purposes. Riboswitches are noncoding RNAs that utilize binding of ligands (metabolites) to affect gene expression. This study is focused on a riboswitch that is also a ribozyme. The catalytic glmS riboswitch/ribozyme undergoes self-cleavage upon binding of the ligand Glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P), resulting in degradation of the RNA and down-regulation of gene expression. The current investigation utilizes a series of natural products and extracts that contain potential riboswitch ligands. Kinetic analyses are performed to identify potential activators and inhibitors of glmS riboswitch self-cleavage. The results of this project will determine which extracts should undergo further characterization.      
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Steven Yackley
INVESTIGATION OF INTRACELLULAR SIGNALING PATHWAYS UNDERLYING THE POLARITY OF MICROGLIA
Steven V. Yackley, Erin Whiteford, Charlton Myer, John Leong, Annemarie Shibata,
Department of Biology, Creighton University, Omaha, NE 68178
Abstract
Microglia, the resident immune phagocytic cells of the CNS, are known for their functional polarity in response to different neuronal conditions.  They're involved in the triggering of anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory mechanisms within this system to promote either neurogenesis or neurotrophic events. Our hypothesis states that activation of unique intracellular signaling pathways direct microglia polarity in response to tramatic neuronal damage.   In order for us to understand the intracellular pathways associated with microglial polarity, we use an in-vitro model system.  In this system we induce polarization of microglia in response to neuronal damage and compare the activation of intracellular signaling pathways in those activated microglia to that of pro-inflammatory (M1), neurogenic (M2), or homeostatic (M0) microglia.  Immunoblotting, immunocytochemistry, and flow cytometry have been used to analyze microglial polarity and intracellular pathway activation.  An understanding of how intracellular pathway activation in microglia responding to neuronal damage compares to known pro-inflammatory (M1), neurogenic (M2), or homeostatic (M0) microglial intracellular signaling is necessary to determine whether manipulation of these states allows for regulation of microglial polarity.      
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Rachel Baiyee-Cady, Jessica Greisen and Madison Wolfe
Effects of Nicotine Exposure on Behavioral Inhibition and Self-Administration in Rats Raised in Isolation
N. Chacho, K. Clancey, S.S. Lee, S. Christenson, R. Baiyee-Cady, M. Wolfe, J. Greisen and D.J. Stairs
Department of Biology and Department of Psychology
Abstract
We tested a potential behavioral mechanism for the increased likelihood of stimulant use in adult rats that were exposed to nicotine during adolescence. We tested if adolescent nicotine exposure altered behavioral inhibition in isolated rats and investigated if the behavioral inhibition measure related to the level of amphetamine self-administration, rate of amphetamine extinction and reinstatement. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were received at PND 21. After a seven-day acclimation period, animals received seven injections of 0.4 mg/kg dose of nicotine or saline. A 30-day washout period was followed by rats learning to lever press in operant conditioning chambers on a DRL schedule. After seven days of recovery from a catheterization surgery, the animals had 10 sessions of self-administration at 0.06 mg/kg/infusion dose of amphetamine on a FR1 schedule, followed by ten extinction sessions. Finally, the animals were given priming injections of amphetamine prior to an extinction session. Results indicated a trend for nicotine-treated isolated rats to have a lower percent accuracy in responding on the DRL and show greater resistance to extinction and greater levels of reinstatement. Overall, adolescent nicotine exposure may alter behavioral inhibition and sensitivity to amphetamine.   
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Zachary Tom
Genetic changes underlying adaptation and trade-offs of pH-adapted Escherichia coli lines
Z. Tom and A. Cullum
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
This study attempts to identify the genetic changes underlying the adaptation of Escherichia coli lines to different environmental pH values (i.e., acidic-alkaline conditions). Previous work has demonstrated that E. coli do improve fitness through evolution in these selection environments. These improvements, however, involve fitness trade-offs for other selection environments. Identifying the genetic changes underlying fitness changes will provide insight into how coliform organisms adapt to changing environments inside and outside hosts. To do this, we will sequence DNA from the E. coli lines, and use bioinformatics to investigate the changes and functioning of genes using online databases of genomes.   
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Corbin Avey
Incisor and molar phenotype of periostin null mice.
C. Avey, R. Wollschlager, U. Pyakurel, S. Tarang, T. Walker, M. Ahkter, M. Weston
Creighton material dentistry lab, Creighton histology core, Creighton school of dentistry
Abstract
INTRODUCTION. Periodontal disease and permanent tooth loss are rampant worldwide.  Periostin, a “matricellular” protein within the periodontal ligament (PDL), conveys change in mechanical loading to influence cell function, cell-matrix interactions, and periodontal tissue homeostasis.  Previously, 2 independent lines of periostin knock-out mice (Postntm1Kudo, Postntm1Sjc) demonstrated progressive incisor and molar tooth defects and periodontal disease.  We utilized a third commercial line, Postntm1Jmol, whose tooth and PDL phenotypes have not been previously assessed.  METHODS. We evaluated dental tissue and enamel-dentin morphology/histology and hardness in Postntm1Jmol homozygous mice using micro-CT scanning, photo-radiography, histology, Knoops hardness testing, and scanning electron microscopy. RESULTS. Evaluation of mandibles from 3 week and 4-7 month-old periostin mutant and wild-type mice revealed significantly increased PDL size between the molars and the underlying incisor (n=4, U=0) in mutant mice. Thinner and abnormal incisor enamel was verified, although, no molar enamel defects were observed. Additionally, incisor enamel/dentin hardness was not statistically different. CONCLUSION. The expansion of the PDL supports periostin’s essential role in bone remodeling. Surprisingly, our strain was found to be phenotypically different (with exceptions in enamel and ameleoblast defects), likely due to the genetically outbred nature of our mouse line.   
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Chloe Hlas
Characterization of Cell Lines Models For a Peritoneal Mucinous Malignancy
Chloe Hlas, Deepthi Akella, Murali R. Kuracha*, Peter Thomas*, Brian W. Loggie*, Venkatesh Govindarajan**
*Department of Surgery, Creighton University School of Medicine and **Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University School of Medicine
Abstract
Pseudomyxoma Peeritonei (PMP) is a malignancy characterized by multifocal tumor implants within the peritoneal cavity with excessive accumulation of mucinous ascites. Overproduction of mucin (MUC2, in particular) coupled with inflammation-associated fibrosis is the leading cause of mortality in patients with advanced disease. The standard of care for patients with PMP involves cytoreductive surgery performed in conjunction with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (circulation of heated chemotherapeutic agents within the peritoneal cavity). Not all patients are candidates for this treatment and the majority will have recurrent disease and die. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop alternative treatment options that are more effective, and less toxic than current approaches. In order to perform pre-clinical studies to test the effectiveness of novel therapeutic approaches, in vitro models of PMP are essential. Currently, in vitro models of PMP are not available. In our laboratory, we have generated several PMP cell lines from patient samples. The studies described here suggest that these cell lines (similar to PMP patient samples) express MUC2, and CDX2, a transcription factor necessary for MUC2 expression. Since these PMP cell lines recapitulate the gene expression pattern seen in PMP tumors, they are good in vitro surrogates for testing anti-cancer agents.   
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Nicholas Fischer
The Role of Nanoscale Roughness on Cell Attachment Following Titanium-based Instrumentation of Titanium, Titanium-Zirconium, and Zirconia Surfaces
Nicholas G. Fischer*, D. Roselyn Cerutis**, Ryan Gnabasik*, Melissa S. Lang**, A. Baruth*
*Department of Physics **Departments of Oral Biology and Periodontics
Abstract
We report on human gingival fibroblast(GF) adhesion of dental healing abutment surfaces following repeated instrumentation with a titanium(Ti) curette, as commonly used in cleaning, using atomic force microscopy(AFM). Ti, Zirconia(ZrO2) and Ti-zirconium(Ti-Zr,) disks were used. Optical laser profilometry(1-5μm lateral resolution) revealed a statistical increase(over control) in roughness for Ti and Ti-Zr, but not ZrO2. The disks were then seeded with GFs. Scanning electron microscopy revealed GF adhesion was statistically higher(over control) for Ti, Ti-Zr, but not ZrO2. We employed AFM(1-5nm lateral resolution) to determine whether the nanoscale roughness played a role in adhesion. Critically, these nanoscale features would have been difficult to identify using traditional optical profilometry. Following plating, AFM clearly shows protruding cells on the control surface and a “planarizing” of the nanoscopically rough surfaces of instrumented Ti and Ti-Zr. This likely occurs by filling of the pits and fissures with extracellular matrix during attachment. Alternatively, on ZrO2, cells protruded from the surface for control and instrumented surface. In conclusion, the increase in nanoscale roughness following instrumentation, along with macroscale roughness, may play a significant role in GF attachment and adhesion for dental implant materials.   
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Hannah Mullally
Orange Sulphur butterflies, Colias eurytheme, as a significant pollinator of  prairie flowers
H. Mullally, T. Burk, and M. Taylor
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Currently, relatively little is known about the role butterflies play in pollination. While butterflies will most likely never replace bees as the world’s main pollinator, more knowledge is needed to understand the significance of butterfly pollination in general. This study focuses on the pollinator significance of the Orange Sulphur butterfly (Colias eurytheme) in a prairie in Eastern Nebraska. Previous research concerning flower visitations for individual butterflies suggest that Orange Sulphur butterflies are flower constant. This research determines pollen pickup and pollen grain constancy on an individual and population level. To do this, we categorized the morphs of a total of 459 pollen grains and measured each grain collected from 27 individual Orange Sulphur butterflies. The majority of pollen carried on most individual butterflies was the sphere with spines morph which all had similar measurements. On a population level, the majority of butterflies in the population carried pollen that was the sphere with spines morph with similar measurements. This research will bring to light a new issue of conservation concern and may also serve to expand on the pollination potential of butterflies for land management.    
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Dayton Oki
The Relationship Between Aperture Positioning and Germination Rate in Brassica oleracea
Dayton S. Oki and Mackenzie L. Taylor
Department of Biology, Creighton University, 2500 California Plaza, Omaha, NE 68178 USA
Abstract
Various plants’ pollen grain apertures functions as the location of pollen tube emergence. Pollen apertures could also function in water absorption and stress mediation from fluctuating grain sizes. Pollen aperture plays a critical role in pollen germination because apertures are the only area where the pollen grain could transfer its sperm cell to the stigma through the pollen tube. How close these apertures land on the partners’ stigma could potentially affect the rate at which the grain will germinate. The flowering plants of Brassica oleracea will be grown and hand pollinated. The pollinated stigmas will be collected at five-minute intervals, fixed in 3:1 ratio of 95% ethanol to acetic acid, stored in 70% ethanol, stained with aniline blue, and observed under a light microscope. The pollen tube length and distance from the aperture to the stigma will be measured to see if the relationship between aperture position and pollen germination rate.   
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Sara Knowles
The effects of a PPARGamma agonist on the stereolical assessment of the hippocampus and hypothalamus in an epileptic model.
Sara Knowles*, Brianna Zieba*, Harrison Roundtree**, Timothy Simeone**, Kristina Simeone**
* Department of Biology** Department of Pharmacology
Abstract
Epilepsy affects approximately 3 million people in the United States, and about  30% of cases are pharmaco-resistant.  The ketogenic diet (KD) is a high fat diet effective in treating refractory seizures. Our research goal is to uncover the KD’s mechanism(s) to identify a novel therapeutic target for refractory epilepsy. Research has shown that severe seizures can result in hippocampus remodeling. The nuclear transcription factor PPARγ plays a critical role in the anti-seizure effects of the KD.  We hypothesize a PPARγ agonist will have neuro-protective effects that resemble the KD. Sleep problems are common in epileptic individuals. We hypothesized that differences in cell number in sleep-regulating regions contribute to dysregulated sleep regulating circuitry in epilepsy. We used cell staining to quantify cell number and astrogliosis in the hippocampus, Suprachiasmic Nucleus, and Periventricular Nucleus using unbiased stereology. We found no statistical differences among groups in the hippocampus in cell number or extent of astrogliosis. The hypothalamic regions showed no statistical significance. Our colony exhibits decreased cell death compared to other colonies of the same strain, suggesting a unique genetic variation in our animals. Hypothalamic results suggest that sleep problems do not stem from a change in cell number.    
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Megan Hess
Inhibition of urease by herbal supplements in the urinary tract pathogen Proteus mirabilis
M. Hess, C. Deutch
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
     Urease is a virulence factor of the urinary tract pathogen Proteus mirabilis. Urease catalyzes the conversion of urea to ammonium which contributes to a basic pH environment in the urethra and bladder. Over-the-counter herbal supplements such as green tea extract and Uva Ursi extract have been shown to inhibit urease activity in another urinary tract pathogen Staphylococcus saprophyticus. In this study the inhibitory effects of seven herbal supplements were tested on the activity of urease in Proteus mirabilis. An assay measuring ammonia concentration was performed to measure inhibition in whole cells of P. mirabilis. Green tea extract showed inhibition up to 78% and Uva Ursi extract showed inhibition to 71%. The garlic extract gave slight inhibition to 25%. Turmeric, blueberry, ginger, and two U.T.I. herbal remedy mixtures did not show inhibition of urease. The chemical inhibition of urease may be a potential tool for the treatment of urinary tract infections as bacteria develop resistance to commonly used therapies.    
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Marisa Varghese
Translocation of Dolutegravir-PLGA and Dolutegravir-Cellulose Acetate Phtlate-NP Into Human Cells
Marisa Varghese*, Charlton Meyer*, Subhra Mandal**, Christopher Destache**, Annemarie Shibata*
*Department of Biology, Creighton University**School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Creighton University
Abstract
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), caused by HIV infection, is responsible for an estimated 34 million deaths including 1.2 million in 2014. Antiretroviral drugs acting before integration of the virus with human DNA are being evaluated for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV. Our collaborators have synthesized nanoparticles (NPs) using two types of polymers: cellulose acetate phthalate (CAP) and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA). CAP is a widely used, low cost pharmaceutical excipient that has been found to have potential use as a topical microbicide. PLGA is a biodegradable polymer used to target nanoparticles to specific tissues. In this study, both CAP and PLGA NPs are loaded with dolutegravir (DTG), an FDA-approved integrase inhibitor. NPs were tagged with fluorescent rhodamine in order to visualize delivery into cells. Delivery into human primary human peripheral blood cells (PBMCs) was determined using flow cytometry with a LIVE/DEAD® counter stain. Identifying optimal nanofabrications for delivery of antiretroviral drugs to human cells will allow for the development of targeted therapies.   
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Nate Nettagul
Effects of Roflumilast and Albuterol on Airway Hyperresponsiveness in Naive mice and IL-13 induced mice
M.R. Hanna*, S. Agrawal*, Jodi Hallgren**, Bryston Chang, P. Oldenburg**, R.G. Townley*, Nate Nettagul, Thinh Le
*Department of Medicine, Center for Allergy and Immunology and **Department of Pharmacology, Creighton University School of Medicine
Abstract
Rationale: Roflumilast has been used to treat COPD by inhibiting Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE-4). Its effect on airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation remains to be poorly elucidated. We hypothesize that combination of roflumilast and albuterol does inhibit AHRMethods: Whole body plethysmography (Penh) data and airway resistance were collected. For each experiment mice was exposed to room air, roflumilast at a dose 5mg/kg by gavage, albuterol by inhalation, IL-13 intranasally, or a combination of them before they were exposed to increasing concentrations of Methacholine (MCh) in vivo and ex vivo using lung slices. This allowed us to measure the extent of AHR under each condition.Results: Physiological effects were represented using percent dose increase (PDI) showing the increase in penh values during MCh challenge. Average PDI for control mice was at 402.94%. PDI values begin increasing at 3 days following IL-13, PDI increased, to 1219.71% at 7 days, and decreased to 472.68% after roflumilast and albuterol. Roflumilast and albuterol inhibited the PDI value to a greater extent than albuterol alone. Conclusion: IL-13 intranasally induced AHR. Roflumilast alone does not significantly affect AHR, however, the combination of roflumilast and albuterol does inhibit AHR and is greater than the effect of albuterol alone.   
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Nate Nettagul
Effects of Roflumilast and Albuterol on Airway Hyperresponsiveness in Naive mice and IL-13 induced mice
M.R. Hanna*, S. Agrawal*, Jodi Hallgren**, Bryston Chang, P. Oldenburg**, R.G. Townley*, Nate Nettagul, Thinh Le
*Department of Medicine, Center for Allergy and Immunology and **Department of Pharmacology, Creighton University School of Medicine
Abstract
Rationale: Roflumilast has been used to treat COPD by inhibiting Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE-4). Its effect on airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation remains to be poorly elucidated. We hypothesize that combination of roflumilast and albuterol does inhibit AHRMethods: Whole body plethysmography (Penh) data and airway resistance were collected. For each experiment mice was exposed to room air, roflumilast at a dose 5mg/kg by gavage, albuterol by inhalation, IL-13 intranasally, or a combination of them before they were exposed to increasing concentrations of Methacholine (MCh) in vivo and ex vivo using lung slices. This allowed us to measure the extent of AHR under each condition.Results: Physiological effects were represented using percent dose increase (PDI) showing the increase in penh values during MCh challenge. Average PDI for control mice was at 402.94%. PDI values begin increasing at 3 days following IL-13, PDI increased, to 1219.71% at 7 days, and decreased to 472.68% after roflumilast and albuterol. Roflumilast and albuterol inhibited the PDI value to a greater extent than albuterol alone. Conclusion: IL-13 intranasally induced AHR. Roflumilast alone does not significantly affect AHR, however, the combination of roflumilast and albuterol does inhibit AHR and is greater than the effect of albuterol alone.   
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Jaspreet Nanda
Gene Targeting Gemmata obscuriglobus
J. Nanda and Dr. J.D. Franke
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Gemmata obscuriglobus is a freshwater Gram-negative motile bacteria part of the Planctomycete family. G. obscuriglobus has many unique features including division by budding, the production of sterols and most notably the presence of internal lipid bilayers. In eukaryotes, proteins with distinct protein folds, “membrane-coat (MC) proteins”, are used to shape membranes. Bioinformatic predictions have shown that G. obscuriglobus contains genes encoding MC proteins which may function to shape its internal membranes. Our experiments focus on three of these genes: 4750, 4796 and 4978. Studies in G. obscuriglobus are limited as routine genetic manipulations (e.g., gene targeting using homologous recombination) have not yet been developed. We are working to develop these technologies while characterizing the roles of these MC proteins. First, a gene targeting plasmid was constructed containing GFP and a kanamycin resistance gene with promoter and terminator sequences. After completion, open reading frame and genomic regions of each gene was cloned in. PCR was used to amplify the tagging cassette and the PCR product was electroporated into wild-type G. obscuriglobus cells and plated on kanamycin plates. Several colonies grew on kanamycin plates and PCR-based approaches were used to verify successful targeting to 4750. Future experiments will test the possible GFP-tagging of 4976 and 4978.   
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2015 presentations

Department of Biology Research Colloquium

Patrick Bruck and Rachel Pham
Characterization of Dolutegravir Loaded Cellulose Ccetate Phthalate Nanoparticles for HIV-1 Prophylaxis 
R. Pham1, P. Bruck1, M. Rezich1, S. Mandal2*, C. Destache2*, and A. Shibata1* 
1Biology Department, Creighton University, Omaha, NE USA2School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Creighton University, Omaha, NE 68178, USA.
Abstract
HIV continues to be a large problem in the world today, as the sixth leading cause of death. Though current HIV antiretroviral treatment is effective, its daily high dose is both expensive and can cause many side effects. In addition, current pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV has been shown to have many side effects or low efficacy. Nanoparticle (NP) antiretroviral drug delivery systems look promising for changing the way in which HIV PrEP is dealt. Our goal is to use NPs carrying a combination of antiretroviral drugs, dolutegravir (DTG) and cellulose acetate phalate (CAP), to create an extended release HIV PrEP. To create the extended release PrEP, we will incorporated CAP-DTG-NPs into a thermosensitive gel, chosen for its convenience and cost effectiveness. At this point, we have tested the efficacy, effectiveness, and cytotoxicity of CAP-DTG-NPs and DTG-NPs.     
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Julianna Diddle
Development of artificial agonists as candidate antibiotics for a bacterial riboswitch
J. Diddle, T. Holmes, A. Stock, L. Hintz, D. Delaney, X. Fei, D. Berkowitz, and J.K. Soukup
Department of Chemistry, Creighton University, 2500 California Plaza, Omaha, NE 68178, USA, Department of Chemistry, University of Nebraska, 824 Hamilton Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
Abstract
The bacterial glmS ribozyme is a mechanistically unique functional RNA among both riboswitches and RNA catalysts. Its self-cleavage activity is the basis of riboswitch regulation of glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P) production, and catalysis requires GlcN6P as a coenzyme. The glmS riboswitch binds to GlcN6P, a building block of the cell wall in Gram-positive bacteria, and undergoes self-cleavage resulting in inactivation of the RNA. As a result, modulation in gene expression occurs through an efficient feedback mechanism. We are developing non-natural GlcN6P analogs that retain coenzyme function and work as artificial riboswitch agonists. The goal of this project is to determine whether artificial riboswitch agonists compare kinetically to the natural ligand. We measured second-order rate constants at subsaturating coenzyme concentrations, below 20% of Km values, under so-called kcat/Km  conditions. Two ligand analogs show promise as candidate antibiotics due to their catalytic efficiencies, namely those bearing a 6-phosphonomethyl group or a 6-O-malonyl ether. Kinetic profiles show a 22-fold and a 27-fold higher catalytic efficiency, respectively, for these two analogs than is observed with glucosamine. These ligand analogs may disrupt normal cell metabolism in a variety of bacterial pathogens that harbor the glmS ribozyme.   
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Nick Mathy
Cytokines secreted by activated microglia enhance neurogenesis through micro-RNA regulation
N. Mathy and A. Shibata, Ph.D.
Department of Biology
Abstract
Activated microglia, the resident immune phagocytic and secretory cells in the CNS, can trigger neurotoxic inflammatory responses or promote neurogenesis and neuronal survival. The underlying mechanisms and properties of neurotrophic microglial secretory cues are still not fully understood. We used an in vitro co-culture system that allowed us to investigate the levels of select cytokines secreted by microglia in response to neuronal damage. RTPCR is underway to verify ELISA data, and to investigate the temporal expression patterns of cytokines post-injury. We are currently investigating the role of select miRNAs in regulating the phenotypic shift between the state of microglia. Microglial-secreted cytokines enhance neurogenesis by regulating neuronal non-coding microRNA expression. Further, we hypothesize miRNAs are known to regulate protein expression during stages of neurogenesis. We have shown that activated microglia enhance the timing of primary cortical neurons in vitro. Current RTPCR analysis demonstrates that this enhancement of neurogenesis is associated with time-dependent regulation of miR-9, miR-124, let-7c levels in differentiating neurons. Our results implicate damage plays a role in activation of microglial facilitated enhancement of neurogenesis. Understanding the mechanisms that drive neurotrophic processes may help develop immune therapies that promote these phenotypes over neurotoxic phenotypes during neurodegenerative diseases and traumatic brain injury.    
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Emily Boes
Prevention of injuries from needle sticks and sharps
P. Kalaga, L. Crowley, M. Balters, A. Forse, M. Kayl, L. Paulsen, C. Wright, J. Lewandowski, C. Jessen, E. Boes, E. Patterson, S. Culbertson, and B. Alsagar
Alegent Creighton Health Department of Surgery
Abstract
Due to the number of injuries from needle sticks and sharps in the CUMC OR, an ergonomic safety initiative has been implemented for mitigating the risk factors and preventing future injuries. The proposed study is concerned with determining whether the safety initiative will lead to a measurable change in the safety culture of the OR teams. Ergonomics training (15 minutes) will be provided to the CUMC OR teams. Team Leads and IP Specialist will be provided additional training to enable them to support implementation of the safety measures for preventing injuries from needle sticks and sharps in the OR. A standard checklist will be used by the observers to record compliance with the safety measures specified within the safety initiative. The checklist will cover pre-operative risk reduction strategies, post operative risk reduction strategies and post-procedure clean up phase risk reduction strategies. Following implementation of the training, the checklist will be used to audit the compliance with the safety and prevention measures during randomly selected surgical procedures. We are still in the data collection phase, so no results have been obtained.   
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Michael Walek
Feather structure and growth as indices of alphavirus disease severity in nestling house sparrows
C. Fassbinder-Orth, M. Walek, R. Shrestha, and B. Kawamoto
Biology Department, Creighton University, Omaha, NE
Abstract
Feather growth is an energetically costly process, and when feather growth occurs concurrently with pathogenic exposure, trade-offs in resource allocation may occur. Avian infections have been shown to alter feather development; specifically length, strength, and structure can be negatively impacted by infectious diseases. In this experiment, nestling house sparrows were inoculated at 7 days of age with one of two lineages (A or B) of an arthropod borne alphavirus, Buggy Creek virus (BCRV). An additional group received a saline injection and served as a negative control group. Birds from all three treatments were euthanized 2,3, or 4 days post inoculation (DPI). Primary (p1, p5, p9), secondary (s1, s5), and rectrix (r1, r6) feathers were obtained. Feather length, barb density, and barbule density were determined. On 4 DPI, the BCRV-A treatment group exhibited significantly shorter p1, p5, and average primary feather lengths compared to control groups. Barbule densities of s5 and primary feathers were significantly higher in BCRV-B infected nestlings. The results indicate that feather quality measurements such as feather length and barbule density could be used as markers for infection effects in developing birds. The impacts of altered feather length and barbule density on fledging success should be further investigated.   
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Dylan Goto
Alphavirus infection impairs growth and digestive function in nestling birds
D. Goto, E. Rainwater, T. Killpack, and C. Fassbinder-Orth
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Nestling birds serve as reservoirs for several arthropod-borne diseases, especially arboviruses.  However, few studies have investigated the effects of an arbovirus infection on nestlings during this critical period of development.  Nestling house sparrows were inoculated at 7 days of age with an arthropod borne alpha virus called Buggy Creek virus (BCRV).  To examine the effects of BCRV infection on nestling growth, body mass, bone growth, and soft tissue maturation were measured.  Digestive function was measured using digestive efficiency, and lipid content of excreta.  Bone growth and tissue maturation levels were significantly lower for the BCRV-A infected birds compared to control.  Additionally, digestive efficiency were significantly lower for BCRV-A and BCRV-B infected birds compared to control.  Also, lipid content was higher in the excreta of BCRV-A infected birds post infection compared to controls, peaking at twice the amount of lipid found in control bird exert at 4 days post infection.  These results indicate that an alpha virus infection decreases digestive function, and overall body condition and maturity in nestling birds.   
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Kelli Mans
Male limited genes in black flies
K. Mans, A. Wattles, A. Papanicolaou, S. Cho, and C. Brockhouse
Department of Biology, Creighton University  and Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, University of Western Sydney
Abstract
River blindness (onchocerciasis) is a parasitic eye and skin disease common to Africa and Latin American, and is the focus of one of the World Health Organization’s largest projects. The disease is transmitted by the blood-feeding activities of female black flies in the genus Simulium. After biting an infected host, each subsequent bite transfers parasites to the human host. Understanding the sex determination mechanism in black flies could identify novel ways of controlling onchocerciasis transmission. Sex determination in black flies is reliant on sets of homozygous or heterozygous inversions that vary in their location among species. Because of this, the sex determiner of the black fly is thought to be a transposable element or a multigene epistatic system. For this project, Simulium tribulatum larvae were collected and used for sex specific RNA extractions. A cDNA library was constructed and added to an existing data set to assemble a transcriptome. Male limited genes were isolated to identify candidate genes from transcriptional differences between sexes that could be affiliated with the sex determining mechanism of the black fly.    
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Kristine Altrichter
Post pollination development in Ruppia maritima
K.M Altrichter, L. Aeilts, M.L. Taylor
Department of Biology, Creighton University 
Abstract
Ruppia maritima is an aquatic plant found in shallow lakes and coastal areas throughout the world. This species exhibits hydrophily, a rare pollination mechanism in which pollen is transported via the water surface. The transition to hydrophily is known to be accompanied by modifications in pollen morphology, but the consequences of this evolutionary transition for pollen development are not well-understood. In this study, we characterized pollen structure and development across the entire pollen life-cycle in R. maritima. This is the first study to investigate pollen development in R. maritima. Pollen wall characters were described at each developmental stage using light, scanning electron, and transmission electron microscopy. In order to investigate post-pollination pollen development, field collections and hand-pollinations were completed and the rates of pollen germination and pollen tube growth were determined. We confirmed that mature grains exhibit a heteropolar exine with a reticulate surface on the proximal wall and atectate surface on the distal wall. We documented successful germinations within five minutes after pollination and pollen tubes reaching the ovule within one hour after pollination. Understanding reproductive development in hydrophilous plants is key to answering questions pertaining to the evolution of flowering plant reproduction.    
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Rachel Baiyee-Cady
Effects of environmental enrichment on d-amphetamine self-administration and food-maintained responding following nicotine exposure
R. Baiyee-Cady, M. Pfaff and D.J. Stairs
Department of Biology and Department of Psychology, Creighton University 
Abstract
The purpose of the present study was to determine of environmental enrichment on the reinforcing properties of amphetamine or food following adolescent nicotine exposure. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were placed in one of two environments: an enriched condition (EC) or an isolated condition (IC). After a seven day acclimation period, animals received seven daily injections of nicotine or saline. Following a 30 day washout period, rats learned to lever press in operant conditioning chambers through food reinforcement. Following the acquisition of the lever press response, animals in the amphetamine study, underwent catheterization surgery. Once the animals acquired amphetamine self-administration, a full dose effect curve for amphetamine was completed. In the food study animals responded for food on an FR1 schedule of reinforcement. Results suggest that at lower doses of amphetamine, IC nicotine-treated rats had higher levels of amphetamine intake than IC saline-treated. EC nicotine-treated and saline-treated rats showed no difference in amphetamine intake at any of the amphetamine doses tested. Although nicotine-treated EC rats self-administered more food pellets than their EC-saline counter parts. These results indicate that environmental enrichment may decrease the ability of adolescent nicotine exposure to increase the reinforcing effects of amphetamine and this effect appears to be specific for drug reinforcers.   
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Markus Pfaff
Effects of environmental enrichment on d-amphetamine self-administration and food-maintained responding following nicotine exposure
R. Baiyee-Cady, M. Pfaff and D.J. Stairs
Department of Biology and Department of Psychology, Creighton University
Abstract
The purpose of the present study was to determine of environmental enrichment on the reinforcing properties of amphetamine or food following adolescent nicotine exposure. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were placed in one of two environments: an enriched condition (EC) or an isolated condition (IC). After a seven day acclimation period, animals received seven daily injections of nicotine or saline. Following a 30 day washout period, rats learned to lever press in operant conditioning chambers through food reinforcement. Following the acquisition of the lever press response, animals in the amphetamine study, underwent catheterization surgery. Once the animals acquired amphetamine self-administration, a full dose effect curve for amphetamine was completed. In the food study animals responded for food on an FR1 schedule of reinforcement. Results suggest that at lower doses of amphetamine, IC nicotine-treated rats had higher levels of amphetamine intake than IC saline-treated. EC nicotine-treated and saline-treated rats showed no difference in amphetamine intake at any of the amphetamine doses tested. Although nicotine-treated EC rats self-administered more food pellets than their EC-saline counter parts. These results indicate that environmental enrichment may decrease the ability of adolescent nicotine exposure to increase the reinforcing effects of amphetamine and this effect appears to be specific for drug reinforcers.    
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Abdulwahab khoadah
Bone and mineralized matrix effects correlate with ectopic miRNA expression
A. Khodadah, M. Akhter, C.T. Avey, M. D. Weston
Osteoporosis Research Center, School of Medicine; Oral Biology Department, School of Dentistry, Creighton University 2500 California Plaza , Omaha NE 68178
Abstract
Background and Objective. Transgenic FVB/NCrl-Tg(GFAP-Mir183,Mir96,Mir182)Mdw mice were developed as a model system to identify, in vivo, target genes and biologic processes regulated by a trio of evolutionary conserved miRNAs known as the miR-183 cluster.  MicroCT scanning demonstrated a bone phenotype which provides direct support that Tg-Mdw mice have developmental and/or remodeling defects of bone tissue.  The hypothesis is that ectopic miR-183 cluster misexpression negatively influences, through posttranscriptional repression of miR-183 cluster target genes, one or more biologic signaling networks involved in bone formation/remodeling. Results. Micro CT analysis shows a loss of cortical bone density and trabecular bone in femurs of Tg-Mdw homozygotes compared to Wt mice as early as P36.  SEM imaging of the fracture faces of Tg-Mdw maxillary teeth demonstrate fewer and less defined rod/inter-rod enamel. Histologic assessments of the tissues and cells which secrete the mineralizing matrix of both bone and enamel are pending.   Discussion and Conclusion. These data support an effect of transgenic miR-183 cluster expression in tissues and cells which secrete and/or maintain mineralized matrix.     
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Zachary Ehresman
The relationship between the upregulation of REST and the onset of clinical prion disease.
J.C. Bartz and Z.E. Ehresman and R.A. Shikiya
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Creighton University
Abstract
Prion disease is a transmissible, neurodegenerative disorder that can be found in both humans and animals.  The infective agents of prion disease are proteins called prions. Prions arise when a normal cellular protein, PrPC, undergoes a conformational change and misfolds into the infectious PrPSc. We are the first lab to explore the role of repressor element silencing transcription factor (REST) protein in prion disease.  The function of REST includes preserving cognition and longevity. Previous researchers concluded that in Alzheimer’s, REST abundance is altered, and REST co-localizes with beta amyloid to prevent the clinical signs of Alzheimer’s from appearing. Prion disease and Alzheimer’s disease are both neurodegenerative, protein-misfolding diseases, therefore, REST could be associated with PrPSc prior to the onset of clinical signs of prion disease. We have identified that REST is co-localized in the nucleus of neurons in prion infected brain and that REST abundance is altered in during the clinical stage of prion disease.  We are  currently investigating if this alteration occurs prior to the onset of clinical disease.  If verified, this would suggest that REST alteration is due to PrPSc formation rather than the neurodegeneration that is observed at clinical disease.   
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Kathryn Blaser and Jon Ermer
Survey of bobcat intestinal helminths on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota
J. Ermer, K. Blaser, R. West, and J. Shea
Department of Biology, Creighton University and Oglala Lakota College, SD
Abstract
The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is the most abundantly distributed and widely spread cat in North America (Schitoskey 1981). However, few studies have examined the parasites present in bobcats. Further, federal agencies rarely conduct biological surveys on Native American Reservations. Thus we chose to survey bobcats on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The area suffered a blizzard in the fall of 2013, killing much of the wildlife and resulting in millions of dollars of lost livestock. This survey examines the impact of this natural disaster on bobcat parasite diversity by comparing its findings to previous studies in South Dakota (Schitoskey 1981) and Nebraska (Tiekotter 1985).   
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Emma Hoppe
Expansion of the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase (TIMP) and the synapsin multigene families
E. R. Hoppe, M. V. Reedy, and S. Cho
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) have been shown to play diverse roles in biochemical and physiological functions, particularly in embryogenesis, and exist in up to four paralogs (TIMP1 through TIMP4), three of which are nested within members of the synapsin gene family. Previous work demonstrated deletion events in the TIMP lineage that lack parsimony given the evolutionary relationship suggested by the gene sequences. Here we generate a compendium of eukaryotic TIMP and synapsin genes available in public databases to elucidate the driving force behind the expansion of both gene families and to explain this incongruity.   
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Alex Continenza
Identifying Unique Markers of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
A. Continenza, V. Nganga, P. Swanson
Department of Immunology and Medical Microbiology, Creighton University
Abstract
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a cancer of the lymphocytes that typically progresses more slowly than other forms of leukemia. The monoclonal B cell populations in patients with CLL have been found to express CD5+ receptors. Few proteins serve as indicators of CLL, so identifying a potential marker for CLL could be very useful in the diagnosis and prognosis of the disease. In our experiments, we investigated two different genes that could serve as potential markers for CLL: S100A6 and Prl2a1. Recently, it has been discovered that S100A6 is deregulated in a variety of cancers, but its expression or role in CLL has not yet been investigated. Prl2a1 is a prolactin gene present in mice and not humans, and its function is to serve in maintenance of B cells. Real-time PCRs (qPCR) for both S100A6 and Prl2a1 were run on three different mouse populations, each containing CD5+ and CD5- mice from four different genotypes (WT, dnRAG1, TCL1, and DTG). Prl2a1 showed an increased expression in CD5+ dnRAG1 mice and CD5+ DTG mice. S100A6 showed an increased expression in CD5+ WT mice, CD5+ TCL1 mice, and CD5+ DTG mice.     
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Sarah Budney
A Burst of Gene Duplication and Functional Diversification of RNase 4 in Microbats (Suborder: Microchiroptera) Epitomizes Neofunctionalization of Duplicated Genes
S. Budney and Soochin Cho
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
The ribonuclease (RNase) A superfamily is a vertebrate-specific gene family with diverse physiological functions including digestion, male reproduction, and host defense.  Recently, it has been hypothesized that the host defense function drove the expansion and diversification of the RNases during vertebrate evolution. While the function of several RNase families has been determined, the function of RNase 4 remains unknown.  Unlike other RNase genes, RNase 4 is highly conserved among mammals; about 90% sequence similarity between distant species.  Furthermore, RNase 4 exists as a single-copy gene in nearly all mammals.  Thus, it is anticipated to have a general function necessary throughout the organism.  In contrast to this, the completion of the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) genome revealed 11 functional RNase 4 genes and three pseudogenes. Here, we identify and sequence RNase 4 genes in five additional bat species and determine that the expansion of the RNase 4 genes occurred during the common ancestor of all microbats (suborder: Microchiroptera).  Our sequence analysis indicates that positive selection is operating on the microbat RNase 4 genes, suggesting their functional diversification.  We propose that the duplication of RNase 4 genes contributed to the adaptation of microbats to a crowded environment caused by communal roosting.   
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Michael Rezich
Development of Elvitegravir Nanoparticles For Long-term Prevention of HIV-1 Infection
M. Rezich, P. Bruck, A. Shibata*, A. Date**, C. Destache**
*Department of Biology, Creighton University**School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Creighton University
Abstract
Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) is a serious global issue. Over 35 million people worldwide (1.3 million in the USA) are living with HIV-1. It is well known that over 80% of HIV infections are contracted through sexual transmission. Therefore, development of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) modalities delivered via vaginal or rectal route to deliver long-term prevention of HIV infection is of great interest. Elvitegravir (EVG) is a potent, FDA approved integrase inhibitor, making it a candidate for prophylactic treatment. Drs. Date and Destache have developed methods to encapsulate elvitegravir in nanoparticles. We hypothesize that our elvitegravir-nanoparticles (EVG-NPs) will significantly increase prophylactic efficacy of elvitegravir via increased percentage of drug delivered to cells when incorporated into a thermosensitive vaginal gel. Cytotoxicity assays have been performed using these human cell lines: cervical HeLa, caginal VK2/E6E7, and H9 T cells, in addition to primary human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Another method used to examine cytotoxicity was MatTek’s 3-D EpiVaginalTM system. Sustained drug delivery has also been examined in the above cells by assessing intracellular and extracellular drug concentrations using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).   
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Patrick Bruck
Polymeric nanoparticles of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate for HIV prophylaxis.
Abhijit Date*, Annemarie Shibata**, Patrick Bruck**, Michael Rezich**, Christian Madson***, Michael Belshan***, Christopher Destache*
*School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Creighton University**Department of Biology, Creighton University***School of Medicine, Creighton University
Abstract
Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) is a major global issue. With more than two million new infections being reported each year, there is a clear need for effective HIV preventive treatments. Tenofovir is a nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor that has been shown to reduce rate of infection by 39% in women when used as a prophylactic agent. However, a recent in vitro study showed that current systems deliver less than 5% of tenofovir to human HEC-1A cells, suggesting that improved and sustained delivery of tenofovir may significantly enhance efficacy (Grammen et al., 2012). Drs. Date and Destache have developed methods to greatly increase the efficiency of nanoparticle encapsulation of tenofovir dispoproxil fumarate (TDF), a pro-drug of tenofovir. We hypothesize that our tenofovir dispoproxil fumarate-nanoparticles (TDF-NPs) when incorporated into a thermosensitive vaginal gel will significantly intensify the prophylactic efficacy of tenofovir by greatly increasing the percentage of drug that is delivered to cells. These formulations will be tested for cytotoxicity and efficacy in vitro and in vivo. Their drug delivery properties will also be compared with aqueous drug solutions in vitro. This work was supported by a Clinical and Translational Science Grant.   
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Kelli Mans
Quantification of the Sex-Spcific Splicing of the doublesex Gene in Simulium
K. Mans, A. Brichacek, C. Brockhouse, and S. Cho
Department of Biology, Creighton University, Omaha, NE, 68178
Abstract
Insects have very different methods of sex differentiation, yet there are characteristics of these pathways that have remained relatively untouched by evolution. It is thought that the evolution of the sex-determining pathway occurs in reverse order than how it unfolds, from the end to the beginning. This implies the most downstream gene in the pathway is most likely to be conserved between similar species. Within the dipteran order, the doublesex (dsx) gene is consistent in its placement at the end of the sex-determining pathway. In addition, within the species that execute sex determination via dsx, the region’s ability to influence sex has become flexible with alternative sex specific splicing. This project was designed to identify if sex specific splice patterns were applicable to the dsx gene in black flies. We are also interested in the extent to which dsx has been conserved between the earliest common holometabolous insects and black flies. We have observed and verified sex specific splicing of the dsx gene in Similium and are lead to believe the female is the default splice form.   
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Mary McGlynn
The Pollen Tube Pathway in Victoria: Implications for Flower Evolution in Water Lilies (Nymphaeaceae)
M.C. McGlynn, E.F. Manke, D. Cooley, K. Oda, E.L. Fennen, S. Garro and Dr. M.L. Taylor
Department of Biology, Creighton Univeristy
Abstract
Victoria is a charismatic genus in the water lily family Nymphaeaceae because of its 50cm diameter. One function of the flower is to facilitate the growth of a pollen tube from the stigmatic surface to the ovule, where it delivers the sperm to the egg. Changes in flower morphology, therefore, have consequences on reproductive events critical for successful fertilization. To understand the evolutionary consequences of increased flower size in Victoria, we characterized its pollen tube pathway and pollen tube development and compared it to other Nymphaeaceae, Nymphaea and Nuphar. In Victoria, pollen germinated across the entire stigmatic surface. Germination was slow compared to other Nymphaeaceae, reaching 40% germination at 8 hours after pollination. Victoria pollen tubes grew laterally until they reached the zone of postgenital fusion, where they penetrated the stigmatic tissue and then grew into the substigmatic transmitting tissue. The time to ovule entry is longer in Victoria, due to slower pollen tube growth rates, slower germination rates, and a longer pollen tube pathway relative to Nymphaea. The time to ovule entry is longer in Victoria due to slower pollen tube growth rates and slower germination rates relative to Nuphar.   
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Tiare Takaesu
Evolutionary history of the mammalian alpha-amylase multi-gene family
T. Takaesu and S. Cho
Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
During the primate evolution, two gene duplication events resulted in variable numbers of distinct alpha(α)-amylase genes among different primates that have either pancreatic or salivary expression.  To elucidate the evolutionary processes of such expression divergence, we used MEGA, an evolutionary analysis software, to build phylogenetic trees of all primate and mammalian α-amylase genes using nucleotide coding sequences and protein sequences to reveal the gene genealogy of this multi-gene family.  We identified 92 α-amylase genes and pseudogenes in 48 mammalian species including 11 primates.  Interestingly, we found that the species with a high number of α-amylase genes are known to consume high amounts of starch, which may be linked to domestication after comparing 9 domesticated species with their nearest undomesticated relatives.  Unlike all other mammalian gene duplications, the primate α -amylase duplication was ancient, which increased the gene number in all apes.  The grouping of the primate AMY2A and AMY2B as sisters in the protein tree conflicts with the gene genealogy reconstructed by the actual primate α -amylase multi-gene family duplication events.  We identified signatures of gene convergence between AMY2A and AMY2B in the primate lineage, which explains this conflict.    
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Constance Melchionna
Effects of Nicotine on Embryonic Metabolic Rate
C. Melchionna*, A. Cullum**, M. Reedy** 
Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Department of Biology, Creighton University
Abstract
Nicotine is known to have an array of detrimental effects on developing vertebrate embryos. A previous study, done by the Reedy lab using a chicken embryo study system, found that one such effect was a reduction in heart rate compared to normal embryos. In this study, we examined the possibility of an associated drop in metabolic rates of chicken embryos under similar nicotine conditions. Eggs were injected with either nicotine or a PBS control at an embryonic age of 24 hours, and oxygen consumption was measured using closed-chamber respirometry at the age of 120 hours. We found that metabolic rates were lowered by about 20% in nicotine-treated embryos relative to the controls. Interestingly, the previous study also found a 20% reduction in body mass of those embryos that were injected with nicotine. Consequently, the change in overall metabolic rate might be explained by a difference in body size. In future work, we will quantify embryo size after oxygen consumption is measured to determine if body size explains some or all of the variation in metabolic rate.    
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Sravani Singu
Effect of Size on in vitro Activation of Murine BMDCs by C5aR Targeted PLGA Particles”
S. Singu, J. Vetro, P. Yeapuri, V. Karaturi, S. Tallapaka
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nebraska Medical Center 
Abstract
The generation and maintenance of antigen-specific T cells is essential for the development of long-lived, protective immunity against diseases. The development of more effective vaccines, therefore, relies on our ability to deliver antigens to the antigen presenting cells (APCs) and stimulate them to initiate immune responses. Activation of APCs requires the use of ligands and immunostimulants in the vaccine formulation. EP67, a decapeptide derived from the C-terminal region of human complement component C5a, is an agonist of the human C5a receptor that binds and activates APCs. We encapsulated model antigen Ovalbumin in various sizes of poly(lactide-co-glycolide) particles to target and activate APCs in order to determine whether different sizes of the C5aR particles affect in vitro activation of dendritic cells.   
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Michael Tellman
Innervation of Nasal Associated Lymphoid Tissue in the Golden Syrian Hamster
Michael R. Tellman*, Melissa D. Clouse**, and Anthony E. Kincaid***
*Departments of Biology, **Biomedical Sciences, and ***Pharmacy Sciences
Abstract
Nasal inhalation is an efficient means of transmission of prion diseases in animals. Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative diseases characterized by an extended incubation period with no visible clinical signs. During this period there is accumulation of the pathogenic agent in peripheral lymphoid tissues followed by transport of the agent into the central nervous system (CNS). Nasal associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) is an important component of the rodent immune system and demonstrates early prion accumulation.  It is not known if prions enter the CNS via nerves that innervate the NALT, but there is evidence that innervation of the nasal cavity is involved in prion neuroinvasion. We hypothesize that NALT innervation may be a route of neuroinvasion in prion disease. Axons were visualized using immunohistochemical techniques with antibodies directed against neurofilament protein (NF), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), calcitonin gene related peptide (cGRP), and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). Few NF positive axons were observed in or adjacent to the NALT; fewer than were identified in nearby tissues, indicating that innervation in the NALT may be less dense than in surrounding tissue. The paucity of axons within the NALT suggests that any neuroinvasion occurring within the nasal cavity is associated with nerves that innervate other tissues.    
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2012 presentations

Department of Biology Research Colloquium

Aunum Akhter
Measuring the Rate of Nicotine Uptake in Developing Embryos.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Jordan Otto, Dr. David Dobberpuhl , Department of Chemistry, and Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University. 
Amanda Bittar and Adam Dziacky
Affects of Light on Lipid Accumulation in the Green Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardti.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Karin van Dijk, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Dr. Byeong Ryool "BJ" Jeong.
Evan Daugherty and Thomas Eckland
Sensitive Detection of Prion Proteins in Vitro.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Jason Bartz, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Dr. Samuel Saunders, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Peter Kiewit Institute.
Anthony Edholm
Assessing Correlations Between Lynch Syndrome and B-Cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Kristen Drescher, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Creighton University.
Allison Fees
Bioprospecting Algal Strains Capable of Producing High Lipid Contents.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Karin van Dijk, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Amanda Kobayashi and Dr. Byeong Ryool "BJ" Jeong.
Amanda Hake, Megan Bosch, and Brittany Handrich
Analysis of Cerebellar Development and Function in Conditional Knockout Mice.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, and Dr. Garrett Soukup and Marsha Pierce, Department of Biomedical Sciences. Creighton University.
Maha Haroon
Proteomic Identification of Reproductive Proteins in Primaparous Simulium vittatum Females.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Gary Xiao, Osteoporosis Research Center, Creighton University, Dr. Alexie Papanicolauo, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia),   Dr. J.K. Colbourne, Indiana University (Bloomington),   and Dr. Charles L. Brockhouse, Department of Biology, Creighton University. 
Zoha Haroon
Identification of Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Subunit Expression in 72 Hour Avian Embryos.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Philip Brauer, Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University. 
Co-author(s): Daniel Higgins.
Troy Hubbard
Pseudomonas syringae Induces Changes in Host Plant Chromatin in a Type III Secretion-Dependent Manner.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Jim Alfano, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Dr. Karin van Dijk, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Andrew Karpisek, McKenzie Jarecki, and Dr. BJ Jeong.
Anne James
Effect of TIMP-2 on Neural Crest Pathfinding.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Philip Brauer, Department of Biomedical Sciences; Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Alicia Muhleisen.
Megan Konz
Skeletochronology Results Of Lithobates Sphenochephalus from Southern Florida.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. James E. Platz, Department of Biology and Dr. Laura Bruce, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Jenna Klug and Matthew Wiles
Effects of Environmental Enrichment on Nicotine Exposure During Adolescence and Nicotine-Induced Locomotor Behavior in Adulthood.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Dustin J. Stairs, Department of Psychology, Creighton University.
Lee Noel, Vinay Panchal, Nicholas Revers, Lee Weiner, and Mandy Wong
Evolutionary Development of pH Tolerance in Experimental Escherichia coli Lineages.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Alistair Cullum, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
John T. Olley and John P. O’Donnell
Close Range Remote Sensing and HPLC Analysis of Phytoplankton on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. John F. Schalles, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Danielle Schneider and Allison Lynn
Neuronal Birthdates of Posterior Thalamic Compartments in Embryonic Chicks.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Laura Bruce, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Dr. David H. Nichols.
Lauren Shoemaker
Effects of Caffeine in an Ethanol Solution on Ethanol Drinking in a Two-Bottle Choice Procedure in Rats.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Dustin J. Stairs, Department of Psychology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Karen Vanderzanden, Jenna Klug, Matthew Wiles, Allie Bragdon, and Kristyn Angsten.
Irsa Shoiab and Jing Chen
Neurotrophic Effects of Microglia via Activation of the MAPK and AKT Signaling Pathways.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Meghan Smith and Hayley Geisterfer
HrpG is a Potential Type III Regulatory Chaperone in Pseudomonas syringae.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Karin van Dijk, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Andrew Karpisek.
Joe Stathos and Zoha Haroon
Early Nicotine Exposure Effects Heart Rate of 5 Day Embryos.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Phillip Brauer, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Kelsey Chemelewski, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Robert Steininger
Immune Cell Distribution in Vitamin D Deficient Airways.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Devendra K. Agrawal, Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Dr. Toluwalope O. Makinde.
Angelica Woo
Characterization and Expression of Simulium Vittatum (Black Fly) Silk Genes: An Examination of Silk Genetics and Evolution.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Charles L. Brockhouse and Dr. Soochin Cho, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Kelsey Yamada
Testing the Hypothesis of Increased Acid-Stability of The Salivary Alpha-Amylase During Early Hominoid Evolution.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Soochin Cho, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Kaitlyn Brittan and Anna Johnson.

Nebraska Academy of Sciences Meeting

Anne Elizabeth James
Effect of TIMP-2 on Neural Crest Pathfinding
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Mark V Reedy, Department of Biology, Philip R Brauer, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University
Co-author(s): Alicia Muhleisen
Megan Konz
Skeletochronology Results of Lithobates sphenocephalus from Southern Florida
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): James E. Platz, Department of Biology and Laura Bruce, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University
Alicia Unangst
Alien Genes: Is Horizontal Transfer Occurring in the Simuliidae?
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Simulium Genomics Consortium. Department of Biology, Creighton University
Christina Nguyen
Structural Characterization and Analysis of Pre-queuosine Riboswitch
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Juliane Soukup, Department of Chemistry, Creighton University
Co-author(s): Donald Schrack
Anthony Edholm
Assessing Correlations between Lynch Syndrome and B-Cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Kristen M. Drescher, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Creighton University
Brent S. Bruck
Development of a Water-Soluble Fluourescent Chemosensor for Detection of Biologically Relevant Analytes
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): James T. Fletcher, Department of Chemistry, Creighton University
Meghan Smith
Interactions of HopVI in a Type Three Secretion System
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): A. Joe and J.R. Alfano, The Center for Plant Science Innovation, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Troy P Hubbard
Type III Effectors of Pseudomonas syringae Induce a Secretion-Dependent Reduction in Host Histone H3 Acetylation
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): K. van Dijk. Biology Department, Creighton University, J. R. Alfano, The Center for Plant Science Innovation, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Co-author(s): A. Karpisek, M. Jarecki, B.R. Jeong,
Rachel Fukumoto
A Butterfly Population Census at Hitchcock Nature Center
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): T. Burk, Biology Department, Creighton University
Megan Bosch
Dicer: Can't Dance With Out It!
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, Marsha Pierce, Garrett Soukup, Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University
Co-author(s): Amanda Hake
Jing Chen
Neurotrophic Effects of Microglia via Activation of AKT Signaling and Epigenetic Modification
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, Creighton University
Co-author(s): Irsa Shoiab

2011 presentations

Department of Biology Research Colloquium

Ashley Altrichter and Diva Wilson
Comparative Avian Immunogenetics: An Exploration of Antiviral Genes in Several Wild Bird Species.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Carol Fassbinder-Orth, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Kaitlyn Brittan
Testing the Hypothesis of the Evolution of the Alpha-Amylase Gene During Human Adaptation to a Starch Diet.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Soochin Cho, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Anna Johnson.
Kelsey Chemelewski
Chick Embryo as a Model System for Studying Nicotine's Effect on Vasculature Development.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Philip Brauer, Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Anthony Edholm
Assessing Correlations between Lynch Syndrome and B-Cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Kristen Drescher, Department of Immunology, Creighton University.
Nick George
Type-III Protein Secretion of Pseudomonas syringae: Is There a Hierarchy?
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Karin van Dijk, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Andrew Karpisek.
Ted Grask, Jenna Klug, Lauren Shoemaker
Effects of Environmental Enrichment on Ethanol Drinking Behavior in Rats.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Dustin J. Stairs, Department of Psychology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Libbie Hasselquist, Department of Psychology.
Amanda Hake
Correlation of Atoh1-Cre Dicer Null Mutant Mice Behavior with Cerebellar Development.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, and Dr. Garret Soukup, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Megan Bosch, Marsha Pierce.
Alissa Hart
Hyperspectral Imagery to Map Invasive Mangroves in the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Texas.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): John Schalles, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Amberleigh Henschen
Evolution Of The Hominoid Alpha-Amylase Gene Family.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Soochin Cho, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Troy Hubbard
Pseudomonas syringae Induces Reduction in Histone H3 Acetylation in a Type III-Dependent Manner.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Karin van Dijk, Department of Biology, Creighton University, & Dr. James Alfano, Center for Plant Science Innovation, University of Nebrask-Lincoln.
Co-author(s): Andrew Karpisek, McKenzie Jarecki, & Dr. Byeong-Ryool Jeong, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Anne James
Effect of TIMP-2 on Neural Crest Pathfinding.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Philip Brauer, Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Alicia Muhleisen.
Jamal Jamil
Role of Prostanoid Receptors in the Inhibitory Effect of Synthetic IsoProstane, AG113 on Potassium- Induced [3H]D-Aspartate Release in Isolated Bovine Retina.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Edem Kegey, Na’Cara Harrison, Catherine A. Opere, Department of Pharmacy Sciences, Creighton University; Thierry Durand, Jean-Marie Galano, Alexandre Guy, Institut des Biomol_?
Amrit Kandel
HER2 Upregulates ADAM12 Expression In Oral Squamous Carcinoma Cells.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. V.H. Rao, and Dr. L. A. Hansen, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Megan Konz
Life History of Spea bombifrons: Longevity, A First Look.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. J.E. Platz, Department of Biology, & Dr. Laura Bruce, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Michaela Kraft
Does Exposure to Novelty During Development Alter the Cross-Sensitization of Nicotine and Amphetamine in Rats? Emily Adams.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Dustin J. Stairs, Department of Psychology, Creighton University.
Katherine Lansu
A Survey of Midwestern Leopard Frogs (Rana pipiens and Rana blairi) for Evidence of Gonadal Dysgenesis Among Males.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. J.E. Platz, Department of Biology, & Dr. Laura Bruce, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Megan Konz.
Matthew Maystrick
In vitro Amplification of Prions.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Ronald A. Shikiya and Dr. Jason C. Bartz, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Creighton University.
Emily McMullen
Viability, Protein, and Immunofluorescent Analysis of HIV-1 Infected Cells Treated with Antiretroviral Therapy Nanoparticles.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Chris Destache and Dr. Annemarie Shibata, School of Pharmacy and Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Alex Pham, Mike Goede.
Bryce Montalbo
Restored vs. Native Prairie at Spring Creek Audubon Nature Center: Can Butterflies Tell the Difference?
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Theodore Burk, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Irsa Shoiab
RT-PCR and Immunocytochemical Analysis of Microglial Neurotrophic Properties.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Bob Steininger
Temporal Characteristics of Pathological Features of Asthma Following OVA-Antigen Sensitization and Challenge in Mice.
Co-author(s): Dr. Tolulope O. Makinde
Sponsor(s): Dr. Devendra K. Agrawal, Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, Creighton University School of Medicine

2009 presentations

Department of Biology Research Colloquium

Sumit Kar
Exercise Training Normalizes ACE and ACE2 in the Brain of Rabbits with Pacing-Induced Chronic Heart Failure.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Irving H. Zucker. Department of Cellular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Co-author(s): Dr. Lie Gao.
Shelby Takeshita and Brian Carroll
CCR5 Antagonists Inhibit IL-13 Induced Bronchial Hyper-Responsiveness.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Robert Townley. Departments of Internal Medicine, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, Pharmacology, and Biology at Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Jesse Mitchell, Pradeep Gendapodi, Nirmal Bastola, and Andrew McChesney.
Beth Mittelstet
Environmental Enrichment and the Subjective Effects of Caffeine in Rats.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Dustin J. Stairs. Departments of Biology and Psychology at Creighton University.
Elizabeth Schwarzkopf
Effects of Novel Environments on Drinking Behavior in Rats.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Dustin J. Stairs. Departments of Biology and Psychology at Creighton University.
Jessica Gaulter
Role of EGFR in Hair Cycling and Inflammation in the Skin.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Laura Hansen. Department of Biomedical Sciences at Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Kyle Bichsel.
McKenzie Jarecki
Chromatin Modification as a Potential Virulence Strategy of Pseudomonas syringae.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Karin van Dijk. Department of Biology at Creighton University.
Daniel Reynolds
An Investigation of the Production of 2-Chlorohexadecanoic Acid.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. David Ford. Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
Co-author(s): Dhanam Anbukumar.
Lan Uyen Tran
Analysis of α3β1 Integrin Expression in Avian Cardiac Neural Crest Cells.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Philip Brauer and Dr. Mark Reedy. Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Biology at Creighton University.
Carrie Cusack and Kaitlin Campbell
Correlation of Atoh1-Cre Dicer Null Mutant Mice Behavior with Neurogenesis and Neurodegeneration.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata. Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Biology at Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Marsha Pierce, Dr. Bernd Friztsch, and Dr. Garrett Soukup.
Jesse Bayudan and Dylan Kathol
Intracellular Mechanisms Underlying Neurotrophic Properties of Microglia.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata. Department of Biology at Creighton University.
Tochi Ibekwe
Effect of IGF-1 on the Phenotype, Proliferation, Migration, and Expression of Inhibitors of Apoptosis (IAPs) in Porcine Coronary Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Devendra K. Agrawal. Department of Biomedical Sciences at Creighton University.
Claire Spellman
Lysozyme and Haptoglobin Production in the Greater Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido).
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Carol Fassbinder-Orth. Department of Biology at Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Charles Hurley and Eric Ogle.
Paul Akre and Dung An Pham
Evolutionary Changes in the pH Tolerance Range of Experimental Escherichia coli Lineages.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Alistair Cullum. Department of Biology at Creighton University.
Tiffany Tsai and My Pham
A Tandem Affinity Purification Strategy to Isolate Proteins Interacting with Type III Chaperones.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Karin van Dijk. Department of Biology at Creighton University.
Sidra Akhter
HIV-1 and Viral Glycoproteins Induce Dysfunction of Human Brain Endothelium via the JAK/STAT Signaling Pathway.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Sangya Singh and Dr. Georgette D. Kanmogne. Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, Center for Neurovirology and Neurodegenerative Disorders at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Adam Altrichter, Tyler Craven, and Tyler Monahan
Coastal Wetland Mapping of Plant Species and Abundance with 1 Meter Resolution, Hyperspectral AISA Imagery.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Paul Merani, Dr. Steve Pennings, and Christine Hladik.
Co-author(s): Dr. John Schalles. Departments, Schools, or Programs of Natural Resources, Marine Sciences, Environmental Sciences, and Biology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Houston, University of Georgia, and Creighton University.
Kristina Nowatzke
Rana chiricahuensis: One Species or Two?
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Charles Brockhouse, Dr. James Platz, Dr. Chuck Austerberry, Dr. Shoochin Cho, and Dr. T. Grudzien. Departments of Biology at Creighton University and Oakland University.
Kristina Nowatzke
Genome Evolution In Arizona Ranids - A Preliminary Report: mtDNA and Nuclear Evidence.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Charles Brockhouse, Dr. James Platz, Dr. Chuck Austerberry, and Dr. Shoochin Cho. Department of Biology at Creighton University.
Dennis A. Porto
The Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor is Necessary for Differentiation in the Hair Follicle.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Laura A. Hansen. Department of Biomedical Sciences at Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Kyle J. Bichsel.
Deirdre Gordon
shRNA-Mediated Knockdown of hKSR1 Decreases Colony Formation in Soft Agar and in vivo Tumorigenicity.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Robert Lewis, Cancer Genes and Molecular Regulation Program of the Eppley Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Co-author(s): Kurt Fisher.
Dathe Benissan-Messan and Brianna Brei
Reproductive Proteomics of Black Flies.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Charles Brockhouse. Marine & Aquatic Genetics Lab, Department of Biology at Creighton University.
Brianna Brei
Proteomic Studies in Black Flies (Diptera: Simuliidae).
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Charles Brockhouse. Departments of Biology at the University of Limerick, the Natural History Museum of London, and Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Dr. John Breen and Dr. R. J. Post.
Austin Andersen
Assessing Genetic Diversity in Black Flies (Diptera: Simuliidae).
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Charles Brockhouse, Marine & Aquatic Genetics Lab, Department of Biology at Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Dr. Cecilia Coscaron of the Darwin Foundation (Quito, Ecuador).
Hannah Enloe
Cell Cultures from Simulium vittatum (Diptera: Simuliidae).
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata and Dr. Charles Brockhouse, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Elmer Gray, Entomology Department at the University of Georgia (Athens).

2008 presentations

Department of Biology Research Colloquium

Scott Andrews
Initial Characterization of the Metallo-_
Co-author(s): Dr. Nancy Hansen, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Creighton University.
Sponsor(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Dathe Benissan-Messan and Brianna Brei
The Black Fly Genome Project.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Charles Brockhouse, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Drs. R.J. Post and L. Crainey, Natural History Museum, London, UK, and Dr. J.K. Colbourne, Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics, Indiana University-Bloomington.
Rachel Dahmer and Amy Bresel
Historical Prevalence of Macrophyte-Rich Conditions in Lake Christina, a Major Migrational Staging Area for Waterfowl.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Jon Kenning, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Brittany Evans
Role of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Family Members in All-Trans Retinoic Acid Induced Cutaneous Side-Effects.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Laura Hansen, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Michelle Gavino
New Tools for River Blindness Control: Progress Towards Black Fly Tissue Culture and Transformation.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Drs. Charles Brockhouse, Annemarie Shibata, and Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University, and Dr. Jay Overmyer, Department of Entomology, University of Georgia-Athens.
Dylan Greene
Expression of IAPs in the Lung Airway of Cockroach-Sensitized and Challenged Mice After Adoptive Transfer of T-regs.
Co-author(s): Halvor McGee and Dr. Devendra Agrawal, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Sponsor(s): Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Cody Gronsten
The Effects of Vasoactive Reagents on Hyperemia.
Co-author(s): Dr. Marc Rendell, Shane Hillman and Shaun Thompson, Diabetes Center, Creighton University.
Sponsor(s): Dr. Alistair Cullum, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Michael Guzman and Dathe Benissan-Messan
Heat Shock Proteins in Simulium vittatum (Diptera: Simuliidae) and Two Dimensional Electrophoresis Optimization.
Sponsor(s): Dr. Charles Brockhouse, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Sarah Hake and Jesse Bayudan
Analysis of Neurogenesis and Neurodegeneration in Atoh1-Cre Dicer Null Mutant Mice.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Marsha Pierce, Drs. Garrett Soukup and Bernd Fritzsch, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Jandi Iha and Janel Okano
The Effects of Long Term Liquid Nitrogen Storage on Sperm Characteristics in the Gaur (Bos gaurus).
Co-author(s): Dr. Naida Loskutoff and Brock Blevins, Reproductive Physiology Laboratory, Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo.
Sponsor(s): Dr. Ted Burk, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Ann Jizba
Creation of a Mutant Form of Tissue Inhibitor of Matrix Metalloproteinases Type-2 and a Study of Its Effect In Vivo.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Philip Brauer, Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Sumit Kar
Exercise Training Normalizes ACE and ACE2 in the Brain of Rabbits with Pacing Induced Chronic Heart Failure.
Co-author(s): Drs. Lie Gao and Irving H. Zucker, Department of Cellular & Integrative Physiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.
Sponsor(s): Dr. Ted Burk, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Elizabeth Kurien
Construction Of A Non-Polar Mutation In Pseudomonas syringae hrpG, Which Encodes a Potential Type III Regulatory Chaperone.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Karin van Dijk Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Matthew R. Zeleny and Jim Alfano, School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Abby Locke
The Effects of Litter on the Invasive Nature of Phalaris arundinacea (Reed Canarygrass).
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Jennifer Sidner and Dr Mary Ann Vinton, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Kristi Lorenzen
Activated Microglia Stimulate Neuronal Survival And Neurogenesis Following Damage.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Michelle McGauvran
Carboxy Terminus of VprBP Participates in the Progression of the Cell Cycle.
Co-author(s): Prafulla Raval and Dr. Patrick Swanson, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Creighton University.
Sponsor(s): Dr. Charles Austerberry, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Liza Meiksins
Evolutionary Responses of Tolerance Ranges to Unvarying Conditions: A Study Examining pH Adaptations in Escherichia coli.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Alistair Cullum, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Hoda Sana
Genotyping the Alport Mouse: A Critical Juncture in the Discovery of Disease Treatment.
Co-author(s): Drs. Dominic Cosgrove and Kathryn D. Rodgers, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE.
Anna Sander
Sequence analysis of a Putative Avian MT1-MMP Transcript.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Colin Smalley
Investigating Human Impacts on the Understory Tree, Ostrya virginiana (Eastern Hop Hornbeam).
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr Mary Ann Vinton, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Tiffany Tsai
A Tandem Affinity Purification Strategy to Isolate Proteins Interacting with Type III Chaperones.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Karin van Dijk Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Meghan Wooster
Identifying Nitric Oxide Synthase Activity via NADPH Diaphorase Staining.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Philip Brauer, Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.

2007 presentations

Department of Biology Research Colloquium

Audrey Butler
Potential Alleopathy in Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana).
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Mary Ann Vinton, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Toby Currin, Lan Anh Tran, and Molly Boyle
Evolutionary Changes in the pH Tolerance Range of Experimental Escherichia coli Lineages.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Alistair Cullum, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Brittany Evans
Role of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Family Members in All-Trans Retinoic Acid Induced Cutaneous Side-Effects.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Laura Hansen, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Co-author(s): Jodi Nicolai, Senior Technician.
Brian Kadow
Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation Towards Hepatocytes is Enhanced by Chick Embryo Co-Culture.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
John Kratochvil
Generating an Immortal Black Fly Cell Culture Line of Simulium (Psilozia) vittatum.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Drs. Charles Brockhouse and Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Kate Kusek
Activity, Growth, and Hibernation Patterns of the Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornate ornate).
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Ted Burk, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Kristi Lorenzen
Enhanced Neuronal Recovery Induced by Microglial Conditioned Media in an In Vitro Stress Model System.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Rebecca Meyer
Expression of GABA-A Receptor Subunit Proteins Following Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Cindy Gibson, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Kalie Miller
Fetal Diagnostic Methodology.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. David Jackson, St. Vincent's Healthcare, Billings, MT.
Conrad Parks
Organic Dust-Induced Inflammation in Human Monocytes and Monocyte-Derived Macrophages.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Jill Poole, Department of Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center and Omaha Veterans Administration Medical Center
Rachel Patterson
Expression of Membrane Type 2 - Matrix Metalloproteinase during Avian Development.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, and Dr. Philip Brauer, Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Erica Reinig
Sexual Selection in Beta splendens.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Ted Burk, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Kathy Roccaforte
Effects of a Changing Light Regime on the Invasive Plant Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard) in Eastern Deciduous Forest.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Mary Ann Vinton, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Elena Strunk
Immunohistochemical Analysis of Tau Phosphorylation in Hippocampal Region of P301L Tau Mutant/Tau-tubulin Kinase 1 Double Transgenic Mice.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Tsuneya Ikezu, Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Neuroscience, University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Daniel A. Yanov and John Kratochvil
Establishment of Rat Pheochromacytoma Cell Culture for Experiments Investigating Neuronal Differentiation.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Brittany Young, Patty Schwartz, Emily Liu, and Carson Williams
Cross-resistance to toxins in Drosophila melanogaster.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Alistair Cullum, Department of Biology, Creighton University.

2006 presentations

Department of Biology Research Colloquium

Audrey Butler
Potential alleopathy in Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana).
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Mary Ann Vinton, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Michael Cantrell
Search for a model system of basement membrane study.
Co-author(s): Daniel Meehan, Dr. Jameel Dennis, and Dr. Dominic Cosgrove, Boys Town National Research Hospital.
Sponsor(s): Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Justyna Dobrowolska
Immunohistochemical analysis of amyloid precusor protein in the hippocampus and cortex of mice following repeated mild traumatic brain injuries.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr Cynthia Gibson, Department of Psychology, Creighton University.
Brian Kadow
In vitro and in vivo differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells.
Co-author(s): H. Basma, G.R. Yannam, T. Yamamoto, C. Spendlove, and I.J. Fox, Department of Surgery, University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Sponsor(s): Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Stacey O’Brien
Pteridophyte diversity on Volcan Zunil: a preliminary report.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): James Platz, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Rachel Patterson
Spatial and temporal expression of membrane type 2 matrix metalloproteinase during avian development.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, and Dr. Philip Brauer, Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University.
Kathy Roccaforte
The effects of a changing light regime on the invasive plant, Alliaria petiolata, (garlic mustard), in eastern deciduous forest.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Mary Ann Vinton, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Brittany Young and Patty Schwartz
Cross-resistance to toxins in Drosophila melanogaster.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Alistair Cullum, Department of Biology, Creighton University.

2005 presentations

Department of Biology Research Colloquium

Cathryn Caputo, Katherine Dodd, Krystle Kennedy, Divvya Sanjeevi, and Aakash Verma
Culture at Creighton: A study of microbes in air, water, and on surfaces around campus.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Amy Treonis, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Cathryn Caputo, Katherine Dodd, Krystle Kennedy, Divvya Sanjeevi, and Aakash Verma
Salt of the Earth: A study of microbes in saline wetland soils.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Amy Treonis, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Danny Gray
An observational study of nematodes in eastern sandhill soils of Nebraska.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Amy Treonis. Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Kelly Langan
Nectar plant usage by butterflies at two eastern Nebraska prairies.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Theodore Burk, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Megan Machmuller and John Gross
Carter Lake algal blooms and reflectance spectroscopy - has the lake changed state?
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): John Schalles, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Abby Meyer and Jim Kappenman
Neural crest Slug expression in the presence of homocysteine.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Mark Reedy, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Tammy Schmuck
Characterization of primary cells in the newly established tissue culture facility.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): Annemarie Shibata, Department of Biology, Creighton University.
Timothy White
Bioacoustical signals in Rana pretiosa and Rana luteiventris: Comparative analyses of call components.
Sponsor(s) and co-author(s): James E. Platz, Department of Biology, Creighton University; Janice Engle, U S Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise, ID; Jay Bowerman, Sunriver Nature Center, Bend, OR.