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Keep us updated with your accomplishes and successes through: Ongoing Connections Update
Through the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program, the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine is committed to:
Consistent with these commitments, the goal of the Better Futures for Iowans program was to make state-of-the-art core reseach facilities at the University of Iowa available to academic classes and research projects conducted primarily by undergraduates at 2-year and 4-year institutions in Iowa.
Faculty throughout the state were eligible to apply for small grants to support laboratory-intensive projects involving undergraduate students in "hands-on" inquiry. Students took responsibility for the preparation of samples and analysis of data obtained. All participants were invited to present a poster about their work at the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ Research Symposium. This activity, which was supported primarily by the Office of the Provost, extended University resources to Iowans and addressed an important goal of the University Strategic Plan - to provide better futures for Iowans.
Maria Bohorquez, PhD and Jerry Honts, PhDBFFI Awardees
Debora Christensen, PhDBFFI Awardee
Adina Kilpatrick, PhDBFFI Awardee
"The phase behavior of amphiphilic lipids and surfactants at various relative humidity levels and water content is of great interest for many technical and pharmaceutical applications. Lipid matrices containing mixtures of glyceryl monooleate (GMO) and glyceryl monostearate (GMS) have been evaluated for their potential application as magnetically induced thermo-responsive local drug delivery systems. However, the presence of excess moisture or hydrophilic additives such as ethanol is reported to influence the phase behavior of monoglycerides. Aims: The aims of this study are to investigate the thermal properties of GMO and GMS, determine the phase behavior of various monoglycerides blends, and investigate the effect of moisture on the crystallization of GMO:GMS matrices at 25, 37, and 42 degrees Celsius. Methods: Various compositions of GMO:GMS matrices will be prepared by a fusion method and characterized using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and scanning electron microcopy (SEM). We will determine the phase behavior of the monoglyceride blends and study the crystallization behaviors such as melting point, glass transition and heat of energy. Those properties are directly influenced by polymorphism and influenced by several external factors such as temperature, rate of crystallization and impurities. Expected outcomes: The DSC and SEM results will provide the best composition of GMO:GMS matrix for the monoglycerides-based thermal responsive drug delivery systems and evaluate the effect of moisture on the crystalline arrangement of the system."
Abebe Mengesha, PhDBFFI Awardee
Jeffrey Ploegstra, PhDBFFI Awardee
"I am working with a student, Allie Byrne, on a research project to determine whether perisynaptic Schwann cells
(PSCs), the glial cells at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), modulate neurotransmitter release. Although there is growing consensus that glial cells play an essential role in synaptic plasticity in the CNS, it is not yet clear whether PSCs play an analogous role at the NMJ. Previous work has shown that synaptic activity increases calcium levels in the PSCs in a frequency dependent manner. This calcium increase depends on the binding of acetylcholine (ACh) or ATP to receptors on the PSCs, suggesting that a feedback mechanism exists by which ACh and/or ATP released from motor terminals activates PSCs. The activated PSCs may then signal back to the nerve terminal, reducing the subsequent release of neurotransmitter. To test this idea Allie and I are measuring high frequency synaptic depression in muscles in which the PSCs have been immunologically ablated. In parallel with these experiments, we are attempting to confirm that the ablation has abolished calcium signals in the PSCs. Surprisingly, we still observe “PSC-like” calcium signals in muscles with ablated PSCs. Since the calcium indicator we are using, Fluo-4 AM, loads into both the PSCs and the nerve terminal, these anomalous calcium signals may be originating in the nerve terminals. Unfortunately, our spinning disk confocal microscope lacks sufficient sensitivity and resolution to distinguish fluorescence originating from PSCs vs. nerve terminals. We propose using a confocal microscope at the University of Iowa to resolve Fluo-4 signals originating from these two components and determine the extent to which calcium signals have been lost or altered at NMJs with ablated PSCs."
Clark Lindgren, PhDBFFI Awardee
Joseph Nguyen, PhDBFFI Awardee
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