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Welcome to the 2017 UMaine Student Symposium: Research and Creative Activity electronic event program. This electronic program includes student abstracts, student presentation style descriptions, and presentation schedules. It also includes a map of the venue layout, schedule of the entire day’s events and programs, as well as details and information regarding our sponsors and selected university programs.

We hope you enjoy a full day of student presentations, guest speakers, award ceremonies, and the chance to network with UMaine students, faculty, staff, as well as local and state industry and community leaders! 
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Monday, April 24 • 1:00pm - 2:15pm
Oral Presentations – Biomedical Sciences

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Speakers
SA

Sarah Alamer

Biomedical Sciences, molecular and cellular biology, 1:00PM-2:15PM
The regulatory role of a phosphorylated G protein: Implication for lipid microdomains | | Heterotrimeric G-proteins play crucial roles in various signaling pathways, where they act as molecular switches in transducing a signal from G protein-coupled receptors to downstream effectors. Post-translation modifications such as phosphorylation and palmitoylation can be important factors in regulating G protein function at the plasma membrane, but the mechanism of their involvement remains poorly defined. We used Dictyostelium discoideum as a cellular model that relies on chemotaxis toward a secreted chemoattractant, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) during the development phase of their life cycle to examine the roles of G protein palmitoylation and phosphorylation. The... Read More →
CB

Cordell Beaton

Major Biology, Minor Chemistry, 1:00PM-2:15PM
How Dietary Fats and Lipid Metabolites Affect Metabolic Health | | There are many different types of dietary fats consumed by people each day. Saturated fatty acids (SFA), omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA-06), and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA-03) all hav... Read More →
MB

Magdalena Blaszkiewicz

Biomedical Science, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Proper innervation of adipose tissue is required for maintenance of energy balance | | An important aspect of regulating energy expenditure is the transfer of signals from the brain through peripheral sympathetic nerves to activate lipolysis and thermogenesis in white and bro... Read More →
avatar for Erin Carter

Erin Carter

Biomedical Science, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Zebrafish as a Preclinical Model for Dystroglycanopathies Muscular dystrophies are heritable diseases characterized by progressive muscle wasting and weakness. Mutations in molecules that modify the dystroglycan protein cause a subset of muscular dystrophies known as secondary... Read More →
AE

Ana Eliza Souza Cunha

Biology/Pre-med, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Neuro-Immune Cross Talk And The Regulation Of Energy Balance | | Neuronal plasticity is the brain’s ability to undergo changes in neurogenesis, neuron survival, and neurite outgrowth from birth through adulthood, and is vital to both development of the brain and in recovery a... Read More →
JD

Jeanne DuShane

Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, 1:00PM-2:15PM
MAPK-ERK Regulates Transcription of JC polyomavirus | | JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) infects more than half of the human population and presents as a persistent, lifelong infection in the kidney. In individuals who are immunosuppressed, JCPyV infection can lead to the onset of the fatal, demyelinating disease, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Dynamic interactions between the virus and host cell factors are responsible for driving the infectious life cycle, yet the role of cellular signaling pathways that promote the infectious process remain poorly understood. Previous work demonstrated that the activation of the mitogen associated protein kinase (MAPK) component, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), occurs within minutes of viral attachment and entry into host cells. Our research has elucidated that both the presence and activation of MAPK-ERK is necessary for JCPyV infection. To determine whether ERK activation is essential for specific steps during JCPyV infection, cells were treated chemical inhibitors to reduce ERK activation, and the impact on JCPyV infectivity was assessed. We found that while ERK is activated during the early steps in infection, its activity is not necessary for viral attachment, entry, or trafficking. However, inhibition of ERK activation leads to a significant decrease in both viral gene expression and viral promoter activity as measured using qPCR and viral promoter reporter assays. Thus, MAPK-ERK activation is required for later steps in the viral life cycle including viral transcription. These findings provide a more complete understanding of viral reprograming of host cell signaling pathways like MAPK-ERK, in order to promote infection and viral pathogenesis. | | Faculty Mentor: Melissa... Read More →
avatar for Lindsey Fitzsimons

Lindsey Fitzsimons

Biomedical Science, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Detailed in vivo comparison of two Wnt1:Cre models in the investigation of a role for primary cilia of cardiac neural crest cells (cNCC) in heart development. | | PROJECT AIMS: Our laboratory has uncovered a unique cardiac phenotype resulting from the elimination of the prima... Read More →
EK

Elisabeth Kilroy

Biomedical Science and Engineering, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Answering the Unknowns: How Exercise Affects the Pathophysiology of Muscular Dystrophy | | Muscular dystrophy (MD) is defined as a group of neuromuscular diseases characterized by a loss in muscle mass, which results in progressive muscle weakness. It is caused by a genetic m... Read More →
SK

Sigrid Koizar

Biology, Pre-Med, Chemistry minor, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor in Adipose Tissue | | Obesity and type 2 diabetes are conditions that lead to adipocyte hypertrophy and inflammation due to metabolic dysfunction. Proper neural innervation of adipose tissue is important for metabolic control. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a growth factor that we have identified in the stromovascular fraction of adipose tissue; it is secreted from the immune cells that reside alongside adipocytes within a fat depot. Neurotrophic factors promote neuron survival and plasticity, but the role of BDNF in adipose tissue is not understood. Using a transgenic mouse model (LysM-cre x BDNF flox) we knocked-out (KO) BDNF in myeloid lineage immune cells, a group that includes macrophages, which we predict secrete BDNF. We confirmed that this LysM-Cre-mediated deletion of BDNF resulted in a genetic denervation of subcutaneous white adipose tissue, but not other peripheral nerves. | By comparing effects of cold-stimulation (promotes neural activation and lipolysis) with high-fat diet (promotes adipose tissue hypertrophy), we have demonstrated that the BDNF KO mice are unable to properly mediate adipose tissue function. We have also demonstrated that the KO mice display the presence of cold-induced brown adipocytes in the subcutaneous fat depot... Read More →
CL

Conner Lajoie

Biochemistry, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Identification and characterization of 5-HT2 receptor scaffolding proteins in JC polyomavirus infection | | The majority of the human population is infected with JC polyomavirus, which establishes an asymptomatic infection in the kidney. In immunosuppressed individuals the vi... Read More →
DM

David Maridas

Biomedical Sciences, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Parathyroid Hormone rescues bone loss induced by calorie restriction | | Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) can stimulate bone remodeling and increase bone density in humans and mice. In addition, when the PTH receptor was knocked out, mice accumulated marrow fat and PTH could also prevent adipogenesis in vitro. Thus, we postulated that the increase in marrow fat commonly reported in anorexia nervosa and in calorie-restricted mice could be prevented with treatment by PTH. We fed a cohort of 8-week-old mice the standard AIN93M diet. Another cohort was fed a diet with a 30% calorie restriction based on the daily food consumed by the control cohort. The calorie-restricted diet was specifically formulated to have all the nutrients and minerals after the 30% retrieval. Mice were injected subcutaneously and daily with PTH (1-34aa... Read More →
ZM

Zach Marin

Mathematics, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Wavelet-Based Particle Tracking In Unreconstructed, Off-Axis Holograms Ocean moons and planets, warmed by tidal forces, are a likely place to find extraterrestrial life. As such, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is conducting a search for life on Europa starting with flyby missions in the 2020s, and eventually progressing to landers. Landers will search tiny extremophiles, which are the likeliest living candidates to be found in harsh extraterrestrial environments. Motility is an accepted biosignature, and finding non-random motion in Europan ice samples will indicate presence of extraterrestrial life. Landers will thus be equipped with microscopes to image ice and subglacial ocean samples on Europa, with the intent of detecting motile organisms. A likely technology for these microscopes is holography, due to its ability to rapidly image full volumes of water without the need for mechanical focus on regions of interest, and its capture of both amplitude and phase information. Standard numerical focusing and reconstruction of hologram time series for detailed 3D particle tracking is slow and computationally expensive. Automatic motion detection and particle tracking is an unsolved problem in unreconstructed off-axis holograms. Our lab proposes an automated wavelet-based method of tracking particles in unreconstructed off-axis holograms to provide rough estimates of the presence of motion and particle trajectories in hologram time series. This will quickly identify motion in candidate time series, which can then be fully reconstructed for detailed 3D tracking of extraterrestrial extremophiles. | | Faculty Mentor: Andre... Read More →
EM

Elizabeth Mason

Biological Sciences, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Elucidating the Effects of Aging on Muscle | | Skeletal muscle serves many physiological functions; therefore, progressive loss of muscle with age, known as sarcopenia, negatively impacts health. Sarcopenia affects 50 million people, is associated with increased fracture risk and functional decline, and increases healthcare costs. Since augmenting muscle has the potential to delay age-related functional decline... Read More →
CM

Colleen Mayberry

Microbiology, 1:00PM-2:15PM
JC Polyomavirus Utilizes Clathrin-mediated Endocytosis for Infectious Entry | | JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) establishes a lifelong, persistent, asymptomatic primary infection in the kidney in the majority of the human population. In immunocompromised individuals JCPyV disseminates to secondary sites of infection including the central nervous system where it establishes a lytic infection and is the causative agent of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a fatal, demyelinating disease. JCPyV attachment is mediated by the interaction of viral capsid protein 1 (VP1) with... Read More →
avatar for Kathryn Morelli

Kathryn Morelli

Biomedical Science & Engineering, 1:00PM-2:15PM
A Personalized Gene Therapy Approach for Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease | | Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT) is a heterogeneous group of inherited peripheral neuropathies affecting 1:2500 individuals worldwide. To date, fifteen different mutations in GARS (glycyl-tRNA synthetase) have been identified in patients with autosomal dominant CMT Type 2D (CMT2D). Although the mechanisms through which mutant forms of GARS cause axon degeneration remain controversial, preliminary data from CMT2D patients and mouse models of the disease (GarsC201R/+ and GarsP278KY/+) suggest that the expression of mutant GARS may cause toxic gain-of-function effects in peripheral nerves. As such, the selective silencing of mutant GARS expression should benefit patients with this disorder. In response, we have developed a gene therapy strategy that reduces the expression of mutant Gars transcripts through allele-specific RNAi. To test the proof-of-principle of this approach, we developed self-complementary adeno-associated viral vectors (scAAV9) expressing therapeutic microRNAs engineered to specifically silence the mutant mouse Gars allele, P278KY (referred to as mi.P278KY). Importantly, in vivo we found that, when injected at birth, scAAV9-mi.P278KY significantly improves gross motor function and prevents axon atrophy in adult GarsP278KY/+ mice. These data confirm that our gene therapy approach can prevent the onset of CMT2D-associated phenotypes. We are now testing the ability of scAAV9-mi.P278KY to arrest or reverse the neuropathy when delivered post-onset in GarsP278KY/+ mice, and to test efficacy of patient-specific vectors in... Read More →
AS

Ashley Soucy

Biochemistry, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Intracellular Ca2+ Flux is Required for a Post-Attachment Step in JCPyV Infection | | JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) establishes an asymptomatic infection in the kidney of healthy individuals through peroral transmission. In severely immunocompromised individuals, JCPyV migrates to the central nervous system (CNS) resulting in the fatal demyelinating disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). JCPyV attachment is mediated by binding to... Read More →
ES

Ella Sulinski

Psychology, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Oxytocin Response to Infant Stimulation is Impaired in Opioid Dependent Mothers Treatment for opioid dependence (MMT) affects the quality of the maternal-infant bond (Heller, 2013). In this study, mother-infant dyads (N=14) with MMT (n=7) and non-exposed dyads (n=7) from the sa... Read More →

Session Chair
MB

Magdalena Blaszkiewicz

Biomedical Science, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Proper innervation of adipose tissue is required for maintenance of energy balance | | An important aspect of regulating energy expenditure is the transfer of signals from the brain through peripheral sympathetic nerves to activate lipolysis and thermogenesis in white and bro... Read More →
avatar for Erin Carter

Erin Carter

Biomedical Science, 1:00PM-2:15PM
Zebrafish as a Preclinical Model for Dystroglycanopathies Muscular dystrophies are heritable diseases characterized by progressive muscle wasting and weakness. Mutations in molecules that modify the dystroglycan protein cause a subset of muscular dystrophies known as secondary... Read More →
avatar for Kathryn Morelli

Kathryn Morelli

Biomedical Science & Engineering, 1:00PM-2:15PM
A Personalized Gene Therapy Approach for Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease | | Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT) is a heterogeneous group of inherited peripheral neuropathies affecting 1:2500 individuals worldwide. To date, fifteen different mutations in GARS (glycyl-tRNA synthetase) have been identified in patients with autosomal dominant CMT Type 2D (CMT2D). Although the mechanisms through which mutant forms of GARS cause axon degeneration remain controversial, preliminary data from CMT2D patients and mouse models of the disease (GarsC201R/+ and GarsP278KY/+) suggest that the expression of mutant GARS may cause toxic gain-of-function effects in peripheral nerves. As such, the selective silencing of mutant GARS expression should benefit patients with this disorder. In response, we have developed a gene therapy strategy that reduces the expression of mutant Gars transcripts through allele-specific RNAi. To test the proof-of-principle of this approach, we developed self-complementary adeno-associated viral vectors (scAAV9) expressing therapeutic microRNAs engineered to specifically silence the mutant mouse Gars allele, P278KY (referred to as mi.P278KY). Importantly, in vivo we found that, when injected at birth, scAAV9-mi.P278KY significantly improves gross motor function and prevents axon atrophy in adult GarsP278KY/+ mice. These data confirm that our gene therapy approach can prevent the onset of CMT2D-associated phenotypes. We are now testing the ability of scAAV9-mi.P278KY to arrest or reverse the neuropathy when delivered post-onset in GarsP278KY/+ mice, and to test efficacy of patient-specific vectors in... Read More →

Judges

Monday April 24, 2017 1:00pm - 2:15pm
Rooms 2-5

Attendees (4)