Fall 2011 Funded Projects

Fall 2011 Funded Projects

Terin Budine

Mentor: Dr. Tim Walston, Department of Biology

C. elegans as a model for S. epidermidis biofilm formation


Project Results: In collaboration with the A.T. Still College of Osteopathic Medicine, we are seeking to use C. elegans to test the effectiveness of quorum-sensing inhibitors to disrupt biofilm formation of S. epidermidis. In humans, biofilms caused by S. epidermidis adhere to surgically implanted devices such as catheters and joint replacements causing life-threatening infections. Previous studies have shown that S. epidermidis are lethal to C. elegans, and biofilm formation was the likely cause of death. The evolutionarily-conserved responses to bacterial infection between C. elegans and higher-level organisms make C. elegans a cheap and efficient model for understanding how biofilms form in mammals and testing possible treatments. Thus far, protocols for constructing survival assays have been designed and the first S. epidermidis controls tested. In the next few months the second control will be tested as well as the first trials using quorum-sensing inhibitors. It is hoped that this project will provide more information about the mechanisms of biofilm formation and help lead to the development of new treatments for this disease.



Bridget Waller

Mentor: Dr. Timothy Walston, Department of Biology

Establishing Caenorhabditis elegans as a model for neural tube defects


Project Results: The goal of this research project is to establish the nematode C. elegans as a model for neural tube defects through studying the embryonic defects that result from alcohol exposure. This past fall, I used DIC microscopy to analyze for embryonic lethality in C. elegans due to in utero and embryonic alcohol exposure. The next step will be to use confocal microscopy to examine transgenic su93 embryos expressing the protein ajm-1::GFP to determine the stage of flawed development. The GIASR Fall 2011 grant allowed me to purchase laboratory materials, including Petri dishes, microscope cover slips, pipets, and ethyl alcohol. Additionally, grant funds will be used to print a poster for the Student Research Conference or another external venue. This past October 2011, Kassi Crocker and I were invited to present at the 3rd Annual Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Symposium at A.T. Stills University.


Kelsey Spalding

Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Vittengl, Department of Psychology

Exloring the Mechanism Mediating beteen Social Anxiety and Social Success


Project Results: For my project, I studied safety behaviors thought to be associated with social anxiety. I organized and analyzed first conversations between individuals to see which behaviors positively and negatively predicted both social anxiety and social attraction. The questionnaire analysis did not reveal a significant relation between social anxiety and social attraction. However, people with higher levels of social anxiety shared more negative information about themselves (r=.18). Sharing negative information correlated positively with the social attraction to partners (r=.13). Higher social anxiety predicted higher neuroticism (r=.49) and lower extraversion (r=-.33), and extraversion predicted partners’ social attraction to story tellers (r=.19). An interaction showed when one or both of the subjects had low extraversion, social attraction decreased; but when both had high extraversion, social attraction increased (r=.24). Quality of communication ratings by both subjects and partners predicted higher social attraction (r=.37 and .19).


Plamena Koseva

Mentor: Dr. Thomas M. Capuano, Department of Classical & Modern Languages

Analysis and Evaluation of Language Learning Websites


Project Results: Reviews of Language-Learning Websites: Plamena Koseva’s website.

Tirtha Raj Sibakoti
Mentor: Dr. David L. McCurdy, Department of Chemistry
Determination of Lead (Pb) in Freshwater fish sample by HG-AAS
Project Results: Full results.