Graduate students Stephanie Lewis and Victoria Baxter published original research in the International Journal of Exercise Science
Graduate students Stephanie Lewis and Victoria Baxter published original research with faculty advisors Kim Spaccarotella and Walter Andzel in the International Journal of Exercise Science in April 2017. Their project, “College Students’ Knowledge of Recovery Beverage Serving Sizes”, examined serving size knowledge among students preparing for careers sports science and health-related professions and showed that education specific to recovery beverages may improve student accuracy when interpreting recommended serving sizes. Their research was also presented as a poster during Kean’s Research Days in 2015. The article is available at http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol10/iss3/9/.
When I first decided to go back to school and become a physical therapist, Columbia University was not even a thought. I was just hoping to get into any school. In my junior year as an undergrad, I volunteered in the outpatient physical therapy office at Hackensack University Hospital. There, I met a second year Columbia student doing her clinical rotation. Hearing her speak about the program got me interested in applying. That summer, I went to Columbia’s open house and was sold. I applied and during the interview process, I knew that Columbia was going to be my school.
Being accepted to the program was a dream come true, but during orientation the butterflies began. I kept asking myself if they made a mistake by accepting me. My classmates are the most amazing people from across the country and the world...
To be a student, volunteer, and employee, it takes complex time management skills to succeed at all three roles. At Kean, I have taken every type of class including early morning, weekend, late night, and even summer courses. This has created countless exciting adventures where I have been able to sit on a committee with fellow peers and professors, delve into a research experience silencing genes in nematodes, and even camping under the stars at the Delaware water gap for an ecology course. I carry these experiences with me as I break away into the professional world, guiding me to take advantage of opportunities and make smart decisions. The information and lessons I have obtained benefits not only personal success but also in better serving others in the field as an EMT. After many years of dedication to academics, community outreach, and shadowing experiences, I am elated to be able to continue fulfilling my goal of becoming a Physician Assistant and being one of the first to graduate from Kean’s MSPA program-evidence that hard work truly pays off.
Six biology students conducted research on RNA interference in the nematode and presented their findings at Kean’s Annual Research Days in April 2016.
Inducing RNAi in C. elegans by Using E. coli to Disrupt the unc-22 Gene and Distinguish the Gene’s Corresponding Mutant Phenotype
The mechanism of RNA interference (RNAi) encompasses silencing a certain gene function while still maintaining its genomic integrity. According to a Nobel Prize-winning study that began in 1998, triggering gene silencing is made possible by feeding special strains of bacteria (E. coli) to the C. elegans worms. Each of the bacteria contains a plasmid expressing a genespecific double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), which is then “absorbed” by the worm. Once the dsRNA is present within a cell, the protein RNase Dicer cuts the dsRNA into double-stranded small interfering RNA’s (siRNA). One siRNA strand is destroyed and the other strand is hybridized to a complementary mRNA while bound to Argonaute, a protein that plays a central role in the RNA silencing process. Then, the remaining siRNA and complementary mRNA strands are bound and the Argonaute cleaves them within the complementary sequence. The gene function, therefore, is silenced. Research supported by: Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, National Science Foundation
RNA interference is a biological process in which RNA molecules inhibit gene expression. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is an organism with 40% of its genes having human matches. This makes C. elegans a great model to understand how cell division and other cell functions work. C. elegans is a microscopic roundworm that grows fast and is also transparent, which makes it easier to see changes. Since this organism feeds from soil bacteria, Escherichia coli has been prepared with an OP50 strain. This E. coli strain is introduced to the nematode by feeding the nematode with OP50 to induce RNA silencing of the dpy-10 gene. The dpy-10 gene produces a cuticle collagen protein that affects body morphology and movement and genetically interacts with the sqt-1 collagen gene. In general, this gene will have an effect on the size of the worm, making the mutant worm smaller than the wild-type worm. The dpy-10 gene will be suppressed, therefore inducing the wild-type worm N2 to the DR1028 mutant type. The production of collagen cuticle will stop, affecting the phenotype of the wild-type worm. However, the genotype will be not affected. Research supported by: Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, National Science Foundation
Examination of Genetic Variations of Genotype and Phenotype of C. elegans wild-type and dumpy-11 by Utilizing RNAi Feeding Strains of E. coli
This project involves using C. elegans, a tiny roundworm, to perform a genetic experiment to induce the mutant dumpy-11 phenotype. This organism is suitable to use because it is easy to culture and manipulate in the lab. RNA interference will be used to silence the dumpy-11 gene. DNA sequencing will be used to genotype the worms. The worms will be grown on agar plates. RNAi will be included in the growing E. coli on LB plates, which will be fed to the worms. The E. coli will be grown overnight and extracted from a single colony. The behavior of the mutant dumpy-11 will be compared to C. elegans wild-type hermaphrodites. Doublestranded RNA is cut into small pieces known as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). One of the strands breaks away while one becomes attached to a protein called Argonaute, which becomes attached to mRNA to silence the gene. Those findings will result from feeding the worms RNAi to silence the gene. The worms will be fed E.coli at the L4 stage. The expected goal is to induce the mutant phenotype from the wild type to dumpy-11. The wild type will still have the same genotype as the mutant but a different phenotype, which is being shorter to different degrees. Research supported by: Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, National Science Foundation
Using RNA interference (RNAi) in C. elegans to silence the bli-1 gene to induce the phenotypic characteristics of the bli-1 mutant
The purpose of this study was to use RNAi to silence the bli-1 gene in C. elegans and observe phenotypic changes due to silencing of that specific gene. RNAi is a gene-silencing mechanism found within many eukaryotic organisms. It is an effective way to down-regulate genes in order to understand their function within an organism. In this study, E. coli cultures with gene-specific double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) will be grown on LB plates and in LB broth. The dsDNA within the E. coli will then be transcribed into single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) and broken down into double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) specific to the organism’s gene being targeted for silencing. For this study, the specific gene being targeted is bli-1. The E. coli expressing this dsRNA can then be fed to the worms which will in turn lead to the silencing of the target gene bli-1. Once phenotypic characteristics of bli-1 are seen in the RNAi-treated worm, PCR and gel electrophoresis will be used to determine the genotypes of the following C. elegans: wild type (wt), bli-1 mutant and RNAi-treated wt.
RNA interference (RNAi) is a powerful molecular mechanism used to maintain transposon activity, mediate gene expression and defend the genome from endogenous antigens. RNAi’s specific functions on genome stability makes it an important research tool for the analysis of gene function in vivo. The ability of RNAi to inhibit gene expression by a sequence-specific mechanism is the key to investigate and control disease-causing genes, thus allowing the pursuit a new class of therapeutic molecules. However, this technique faces the challenge of not being able to target only one single gene. An outstanding organism for studying molecular processes and cell division is Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). This organism’s dpy-13 gene was modified to change phenotypical characteristics in C. elegans. Modifications of dpy-13 gene expression results in short and bulky body shape. This gene encodes a member of the collagen superfamily. In order to trigger this specific gene silencing, C. elegans were fed E. coli strain OP50 expressing dpy-13 double-stranded interfering RNA (dsRNAi). Research supported by: Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, National Science Foundation.
Biology Students Present at The Metropolitan Association of Colleges and University Biologists (MACUB) 49th Annual Conference
This is a photo taken at the poster session where two Kean Biology undergraduates, Diana Colgan and Wajid Mirza, presented their case study they created while in independent study with Drs. Reilly and Lorentzen. The conferenc was The Metropolitan Association of Colleges and University Biologists (MACUB) 49th Annual Conference held at SUNY Old Westbury NY on Oct. 29, 2016. Their poster presentation was entitled: Anterior Cerebral Artery Stroke: A Case Study Created to Understand the Clinical Dysfunctions Related to the Ischemic Brain Regions.