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  • Sponsored By

    The 4th Annual

    Joint Molecular

    Biosciences Graduate

    Student Symposium Friday, March 12, 2010

    Life Sciences Auditorium, Busch Campus

    Student Presentation Guide

  • Symposium Schedule

    10:45am Coffee, Tea, and Juice

    10:45am-11:00am Opening remarks

    11:00am-12:15pm Student Seminar Session 1

    12:15pm Lunch

    12:15pm-2:00pm Poster Session/Sponsor Greetings

    2:00pm-2:30pm Keynote Address from Dr. Eddy Arnold "Aiming at a rapidly moving target: using structure-based

    design to overcome HIV-1 reverse transcriptase drug resistance."

    2:30pm-3:45pm Student Seminar Session 2

    3:45pm Light Snacks

    3:45pm-4:30pm Poster Session

    4:30pm Awards

    Information about the Joint Molecular Biosciences

    Graduate Student Association can be found at

    Student Posters

    Title: “AKT2 is a downstream target of Grm1 " Presenter: Seung-Shick Shin Title: “Cochlear hair cell micro-isolates regulate the soma size of spiral ganglion neurons" Presenter: Felicia Smith Title: “Regulation of Drosophila hematopoiesis by Zfrp8/PDCD2, JAK-STAT and Ken/BCL-6" Presenter: William Tan Title: “The role of PSD-95 and cypin in hippocampal dendrite and spine injury and recovery in response to NMDA-mediated excitotoxicy" Presenter: Chia-Yi Tseng Title: “Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlus) and cellular transformation" Presenter: Jessica Teh Title: “Bosea sp. WAO mediates the oxidation of metal sulfides" Presenter: Alexandra Walczak Title: “Efficacy of combination therapies for the treatment of metastatic melanoma" Presenter: Janet Wangari-Talbot Title: “3-D Bioactive scaffolds as stem cell substrates for accelerated wound healing" Presenter: Jing Xu

  • Student Posters

    Title: “Investigating the molecular genetic basis of the mouse mutant vacuolated lens (vl)" Presenter: Bo Li Title: “Isolation of initiating melanoma stem cells from human malignant cell line c8161" Presenter: Elisa Mastrantoni Title: “Bacterial toxin-antitoxin systems as new agents for cancer gene therapy" Presenter: Christopher Mozdzierz Title: “Composition of microbial biofilm communities from diffuse flow deep-sea hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise 9o N" Presenter: Chuck O’Brien Title: “The role of actin regulating WAVE/SCAR complex in maintenance of epithelial organization" Presenter: Falshruti Patel Title: “Preliminary sequence analysis on the effects of distance and selective enrichment on alkane monooxygenase gene diversity in Passaic River sediment" Presenter: Elyse Rodgers-Vieira Title: “Altered binding of eukaryotic elongation factor 3 (eEF3) to the ribosomes: A key to understanding its functional requirement in yeast" Presenter: Arjun N. Sasikumar

    Student Presentations

    Title: “Modulation of CD154 expression by polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTB)" Presenter: Rodrigo Matus-Nicodemos Abstract: CD40 ligand (CD40L) is a protein expressed on activated CD4+ T cells, which is crucial for antibody-dependent immunity by B cells. The expression of CD40L is tightly regulated at multiple levels throughout a time course of T cell activation. At the post-transcriptional level the CD40L message is rapidly degraded at early time points of activation followed by a significant increase in message stability at later times of activation (24-48 hr). Previous work from our lab revealed that a cytoplasmic polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTB)- containing-complex binds to the CD40L 3’UTR at later times of T cell activation. We used a retrovirus RNA interference system to down regulate PTB in D1.1 Jurkat T cell line to address the functional role of PTB in regulating the CD40L mRNA stability and subsequently the surface expression of CD40L. Real-time qPCR measurement of the CD40L mRNA decay revealed that the downregulation of PTB caused a decrease in the half-life of CD40L mRNA. The downregulation of PTB did not significantly change the percentage if CD40L+ cells, but caused an approximate 2-fold decrease in the mean fluorescence (MFI) of CD40L. Cellular fractionation of CD40L mRNA from shCTRL- and shPTB-infected cells revealed a novel role for nuclear PTB in retaining CD40L mRNA in the nucleus. In addition, cytoplasmic PTB appears critical for optimal association of CD40L message with translating polysomes. This work firmly establishes a role for PTB in regulating the turnover of CD40L message and surface protein in activated T cells through processes linked to nuclear and cytoplasmic transport.

  • Student Presentations

    Title: “MicroRNA modulators of C. elegans aging and healthspan" Presenter: Mehul Vora Abstract: Identification and characterization of genes involved in promoting healthy aging is a key focus of aging biology and offers a dual advantage of improving the period of healthy aging as well as extending understanding the cellular processes involved in delaying age-onset diseases. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a newly appreciated class of conserved [1] regulatory non-coding RNAs that are implicated in fundamental and diverse biological processes, including diseases of aging like cancer and neurodegeneration. miRNAs have been proposed to buffer against variation and stochastic event in order to maintain biological robustness. Age-related loss of miRNA-mediated regulation may lead to large and detrimental deviations from robustness that are characteristic of aging. Indeed, in a genome wide survey of how miRNA expression changes during adult life, we find that about half of C. elegans miRNAs are significantly regulated during aging (most of them are down-regulated) [2] In an effort to determine whether miRNAs may modulate aging in general, we are currently conducting the first comprehensive screen to identify miRNAs that modulate the aging process. Assays that measure the accumulation of age-pigments (fluorescent lipofuscin and advanced glycation end products) in whole animals have shown that 17 mutant miRNA strains exhibit abnormal levels compared to same age wildtype animals during early adulthood (Day 4). Since age pigments are thought to reflect the physiological age rather than the chronological age [3], these miRNAs may be responsible for maintaining physiological homeostasis through life. 5 tested strains also exhibited significantly altered age pigment levels at mid-late (Day 9) or late (Day11) adulthood. 4/5 age-regulated miRNAs (mir-1, mir- 34, mir-71, mir-238) also showed a significant decline in swimming prowess compared to wild type animals at late age (Day 10), although their swimming in early adulthood is similar to wild type. Significantly, these mutants also accumulate higher age pigments early in life, perhaps indicating that a "poor" start leads to decline in integrity later in life. We have also identified a few miRNA mutants that have lower age pigment levels late in life. Some of these have multiple indicators of strong healthspan.

    In conclusion, some miRNAs may play an important role in maintaining homeostasis and general integrity of the aging animal. Deciphering the gene networks that they regulate may suggest new strategies for positive healthspan intervention.

    Student Posters

    Title: “Cyanobacterial metabolomics: Liquid-chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) based analysis of fermentative metabolism and biofuel production in the model cyanobacterium Synechoccous sp. 7002" Presenter: Nicholas Bennette Title: “Autism-associated haplotype of ENGRAILED2 is a functional unit recruiting transcription factors" Presenter: Jiyeon Choi Title: “Interacting partners of ESC1, a protein involved in silent chromatin positioning” Presenter: Chia-Ching Chou Title: “An in vitro assay for acupuncture" Presenter: Ka Po Chu Title: “Functional characterization of NOS1AP schizophrenia risk allele" Presenter: Anna Dulencin Title: “Role of the eukaryotic elongation factor 1Bγ in vesicular trafficking of carboxypeptidase Y" Presenter: Anthony Esposito Title: “Transglutaminase 2 and the toxicity of misfolded α- synuclein" Presenter: Hilary Grosso

  • Student Presentations

    Title: “Immobilized glycan mimics for peripheral nerve regeneration" Presenter: Shirley Masand Abstract: Despite the innate regenerative potential of the peripheral nervous system following injury, functional recovery is limited due to a non-supportive microenvironment and improper axon targeting. Two carbohydrates– HNK-1, an epitope from the human natural killer cell, and 2,8 polysialic acid (PSA) – are favorably involved in preferential motor reinnervation, neuron survival, and acceleration of regrowth. Peptide mimics of these molecules, which are simpler in structure and easier to produce, have been covalently grafted onto monomeric type I collagen, which immobilizes the peptide for well-controlled presentation following self-assembly of the collagen into a fibrillar gel. Peptide-grafted collagen gels significantly enhanced neurite outgrowth from chick dorsal root ganglia and rat embryonic spinal cord neurons in vitro. In vivo, the materials were evaluated using a mouse femoral nerve injury model, where a polyethylene cuff is used to bridge a 5-mm transection. The lumen of the cuff was filled with saline, native collagen, or peptide-grafted collagen. Animals were videotaped before injury, and then weekly for 15 weeks. Single-frame motion analysis was used to quantita