SPUR 2018 Projects

Metallurgical Engineering | College of Mines & Earth Sciences


Corrosion Mitigation in Molten Salts for Energy Collection
Michael Simpson, Professor

Molten chloride salts are ideal fluids to be used in concentrated solar power (CSP) plants because of their high thermal stability, low viscosity, and excellent heat transfer properties. They are being considered by the solar power industry to replace organic liquids and nitrate salts for heat transfer and storage in future CSP plants. The problem is that chloride salts can be highly corrosive in the presence of water, and they have a high affinity to absorb moisture. The likely solution to this problem is to develop methods to continuously monitor and control the oxidation potential of the molten salt. Chemical and electrochemical methods can be used to mitigate or even eliminate corrosion in molten chloride salts. This project is aimed at testing different monitoring and control methods for oxidation potential in molten chloride salts which have suitable properties for CSP plants.

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Psychology | College of Social & Behavioral Science


Baby Study
Elisabeth Conradt, Assistant Professor

We study why some children exposed to early life stress develop problems with self-regulation while others do not. We are starting to tackle this problem by studying women who have mood disorders, like depression or anxiety, while pregnant. We collect physiological and behavioral measures from them, their placenta once they have given birth, and then we evaluate their newborn's behavior. The goal is to better understand how prenatal exposure to maternal mood disorder can impact newborn neurobehavior at multiple levels of analysis: physiologically, behaviorally, and at the level of the genome. We are then following up with our participants to get a better sense of how their infants self-regulate at 7 and 18 months of age. This research will advance our understanding of which children are particularly susceptible to early life experiences, and why.

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Physical Therapy & Athletic Training | College of Health


Novel approaches to reduce muscle atrophy and metabolic dysfunction in older adults during physical inactivity
Micah Drummond, Associate Professor

Hospitalizations for disease, injury, and/or surgery in older adults are likely to impair physical mobility and, therefore, the older adults capacity to be physically active both during hospitalization and beyond. The resulting sedentary lifestyle is likely to be accepted as the "new normal", ultimately increasing the risk of skeletal muscle and metabolic dysfunction (e.g. insulin resistance and sarcopenia). Muscle atrophy and insulin resistance are an unfortunate consequence with disuse in older adults. We have observed with our bed rest studies in healthy older adults that in addition to muscle and metabolic changes, we notice increased skeletal muscle inflammation, impaired glucose uptake signaling and an upregulation of enzymes related to de novo ceramide biosynthesis. The accumulation of ceramide, a toxic lipid intermediate, can disrupt glucose homeostasis and impair muscle growth. Insulin sensitizers (common diabetic glucose lowering medications) not only improve insulin sensitivity but may be able to attenuate muscle loss in insulin resistant adults through a mechanism that may involve ceramide synthesis. This might be a useful preventive strategy to maintain muscle and metabolic health during a period of physical inactivity in older adults has not been investigated. Therefore, we have proposed to conduct a clinical study in healthy glucose tolerant older adults to test if specific insulin sensitizers during bed rest will attenuate insulin resistance, muscle loss and accumulation of ceramides. These findings will be foundational in the development of novel treatments to prevent insulin resistance and muscle atrophy in older adults during disuse periods.

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Sociology | College of Social & Behavioral Science


Health promotion and education for uninsured free clinic patients and refugees resettled in the US
Akiko Kamimura, Assistant Professor

This proposed project will focus on community health - health promotion and education for uninsured free clinic patients and refugees resettled in the US. I have developed projects to improve health of free clinic patients with the Maliheh Free Clinic and of refugees resettled in Utah in the past five years, and have established the following steps for each sub-project (Note: Each sub-project usually completes in one semester to accommodate with student schedule. There are multiple sub-projects each semester.):

  • Step 1: Need assessment
  • Step 2: Research
  • Step 3: Outreach and implementations
  • Step 4: Re-evaluation
  • Step 5: Dissemination

This proposed project aims at integrating and expanding the projects from previous semesters to better provide health education programs to these underserved populations. The main focus topic will be healthy lifestyle. My community health research projects are based upon the community-based participatory research (CBPR) model. The main characteristics of the CBPR model include "participatory", "cooperative, engaging community members and researchers in a joint process in which both contribute equally", "co-learning process", "systems development and local community capacity building", "empowering process," and "a balance between research and action" (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008). This proposed project is important because it combines scientific research with action (practice implications) and contributes both to scholarship and practice. Additionally, this project will contribute to individuals, society and the community by improving health of underserved populations in Utah and beyond.

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Nutrition & Integrative Physiology | College of Health


Mechanistic insights into the vascular effects of blueberries
Anandh Babu Pon Velayutham, Assistant Professor

The research in our laboratory is focused on the vascular effects of blueberries with special emphasis on circulating metabolites and the molecular signaling mechanisms involved. Diabetes greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, which accounts for the largest number of deaths among American diabetic patients. High glucose induced vascular inflammation and dysfunction play a major role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in diabetes. The vascular endothelium is covered with glycocalyx which act as an orchestrator of vascular homeostasis. The structure/function of glycocalyx is compromised in the vessels of diabetic patients, which enhances the sensitivity of the vasculature towards inflammatory stimuli leading to cardiovascular disease. Hence, preservation/restoration of glycocalyx structure may be a novel strategy to ameliorate vascular complications in diabetes.  Epidemiological and clinical studies support the vascular effects of anthocyanins - one class of flavonoids widely available in berry fruits. In our study, dietary blueberries ameliorated vascular inflammation/dysfunction in diabetic mice. Further, blueberry metabolites at physiologically relevant concentrations, suppressed high fat and diabetes-induced endothelial inflammation in human aortic endothelial cells (Mol Nutr Food Research 2017). Our current project determines (1) whether dietary blueberry ameliorates vascular complications in diabetes by modulating endothelial glycocalyx, and (2) the role of circulating metabolites in exerting such vascular effects. Understanding and validating the bioactivities of blueberry will provide a solid scientific foundation to recommend blueberries to improve vascular health.

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Materials Science & Engineering | College of Engineering


Balancing performance and sustainability in new materials discovery via machine learning
Taylor Sparks, Assistant Professor

Many of the most exciting new developments in engineering and technology can be traced back to the discovery of new materials which exhibit exciting new properties. However, one of the main challenges in discovering new materials is that the process has traditionally been a high-risk, low-reward endeavor with low odds of identifying a new material with exciting new properties. In fact, many of the most exciting new materials from high temperature superconductors to teflon fluoropolymers have been discovered by "accident" by fortuity and chance. Moreover, even when materials are designed for a given application little thought is given to economic, environmental, and other sustainability factors that may limit the eventual deployment of new materials. For example, rare-earth laden magnets, noble metals in catalysts, or toxic heavy-metals in solar cells and batteries. Going forward, a fundamentally new approach must be utilized that will enable the discovery of new materials at a radically increased pace by reducing the risk associated with exploring chemical "whitespace." One exciting new field, which the PI is a pioneer in, is using machine learning techniques to predict material performance before synthesis ever occurs. The advent of big data in materials science and other science fields has put machine learning in a position to provide exciting new developments that far outpace traditional one-at-a-time synthetic approaches. However, at the heart of machine learning is gathering, curating, and preparing data to be utilized as training datasets in machine learning algorithms. There is an enormous amount of work to be done in collecting this data especially with an eye towards sustainability metrics.

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Chemistry | College of Science


Hairy Nanoparticle Solid Polymer Electrolytes For Lithium Ion Batteries
Ilya Zharov, Associate Professor

This research project will be a part of Zharov group effort in the area of alternative energy. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on mobile electrical power, batteries play an ever-greater role in all aspects of our life. Today's batteries are expensive, often unsafe and, in addition, too heavy to be used in portable devices that require high battery power. There is great need for batteries which do not incorporate liquid organic solvents, which could revolutionize battery technology because of their promising properties including nontoxicity, ease of preparation, stability during operation, and enhanced safety. The major limitation of solid-state batteries is their low power densities compared to those of liquid-electrolyte batteries. This is due in large part to the low ionic conductivity of the solid electrolyte.The goal of this project is to design novel nanocomposite solid polymer electrolytes, which will afford batteries with long service life and innovative functionalities. Specifically, we will prepare Li+ polymer electrolytes composed of polymers grafted on ion-conducting inorganic nanoparticles. Such electrolytes have never been synthesized. Therefore, it is essential to prepare and study these materials in terms of the effect of different polymer brush architecture, the type and content of lithium salt and the composition of the inorganic nanoparticles on the structure and ionic conductivity. We expect that these novel polymer electrolytes will possess particularly high ionic conductivity which will provide excellent performance in all-solid lithium-ion batteries.

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Dentistry


Environmental Triggers of Autoimmunity
Melodie Weller, Assistant Professor

Environmental exposures, including both chemicals and pathogens, have been thought to be triggers in the development of chronic diseases. The Weller Lab studies the role of select environmental exposures in the development of a chronic autoimmune disease called Sjogren's syndrome. This female-predominant autoimmune disease affects 1-4 million people in the United States and is characterized by decreased saliva and tear production, inflammation in the salivary gland tissues and development of autoantibodies. Beyond the significant impact on patients' quality of life, Sjogren's syndrome patients are often diagnosed with other autoimmune diseases, including Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and are 40 times more likely to develop non-hodgkin lymphoma. Currently, therapies for this disease are primarily limited to immune suppression or lubrication of ocular surfaces and oral mucosa. Low-level, chronic viral infections in connection with genetic susceptibility factors are thought to be the underlying triggers of this chronic autoimmune disease. Our lab has focused on further characterizing these viral signatures and identifying routes of exposure in patient populations. Projects in the lab utilize viral-genome sequencing, microarray, bioinformatics, molecular biology and cell culture to define the underlying mechanism(s) of autoimmunity. Ultimately, our goal is to understand the underlying triggers of Sjogren's syndrome to further develop preventative measures and/or targeted therapeutics.

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Biology | College of Science


Optogenetic interrogation of sensory processing in the brain
Dimitri Traenkner, Research Assistant Professor

By combining a newly developed direct and quantitative stress-response test for mice with pharmacological silencing of small brain volumes, I have recently discovered an unexpected role of the forebrain in novelty detection. Silencing the forebrain abolishes the ability of mice to show the normal elevated stress response to an unfamiliar stimulus. This observation suggests that the mammalian forebrain tags an unfamiliar stimulus as novel and triggers alertness. It is possible that forebrain novelty-tags also trigger higher order processes, such as learning and memory formation. The undergraduate research project is designed to further explore the role of forebrain activity in novelty processing using optogenetics. With channelrhodopsin, an engineered light-controlled ion channel, we will artificially induce neuronal activity in the forebrain and study the effect on stress responses, learning, and memory formation.

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Orthopaedics | College of Medicine


Prediction of Hospital Readmissions for Precision Medicine
Man Hung, Associate Professor

When patients leave the hospital after surgery they expect to be on a path to better health. Unfortunately, up to 15% of patients are unexpectedly readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. Hospital readmissions are an enormous public health concern and cause excessive strain on healthcare resources. Readmissions for musculoskeletal and heart conditions in particular are both frequent and expensive, costing billions in medical expenditures each year. Orthopaedic and heart surgeries are in the top 20 costliest procedures. In order to reduce excess hospital readmissions, prediction models are needed to identify patients at high risk of readmissions and to intervene in a timely manner. Prior attempts to develop risk calculators have been limited by insufficient data sources or results that could not be tailored to an individual. To date, there has not been any models developed that have the capability to model hospital readmissions for orthopaedic and heart conditions, for all ages and for all payers using big data repository linking clinical and non-clinical variables for precision medicine. The proposed research seeks to develop models that can predict which patients will experience hospital readmissions in an effort to identify targets for intervention. Once completed, this work has the potential to improve health care quality, reduce cost, and improve patients' quality of life.

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Physics & Astronomy | College of Science


Atomically-Thin Heterostructures
Vikram Deshpande, Assistant Professor

The discovery of graphene and subsequent Nobel prize has given rise to the rapidly growing field of materials that only one atom thick. These materials go beyond the metallic graphene to include semiconductors, insulators, magnets, superconductors and other diverse forms of matter. The proposed projects builds atomically thin heterostructures or "sandwiches" between disparate atomically-thin materials to create new designer materials and designer properties. Examples include graphene/insulator, graphene/superconductor, topological insulator/magnetic insulator, topological insulator/superconductor and many others. Undergraduates get hands-on experience to do cutting-edge science. There are two particular projects for which I am looking to recruit undergrads:

  1. Since atomically-thin materials are also very stretchy, we will strain them and study modified properties.
  2. Certain atomically-thin materials are very sensitive to the environment. So we will come up with way to build heterostructures using them in controlled environments.

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Atmospheric Sciences | College of Mines & Earth Sciences


Investigating the Weather Conditions near Wildfires
John Horel, Professor

A study is underway supported by the Joint Fire Science Program to improve the information available to wildfire professionals to make decisions when hazardous weather is expected in the vicinity of major wildfires in the United States. The project involves analyzing and visualizing "big data" obtained from numerical weather prediction models and observations in the vicinity of major wildfires during the 2018 summer season. The objective of this study is to develop improved computer-based tools that operational wildfire personnel can use to make informed decisions about conditions that could lead to explosive fire development. Fire professionals are using other online tools developed by our research group to monitor the fire potential near the Great Lakes (glff.mesowest.org), Alaska (akff.mesowest.org), and nationwide (mesowest.utah.edu).

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Surgery | College of Medicine


Local Neurotrophin Delivery to Enhance Peripheral Nerve Regeneration
Jay Agarwal, Associate Professor

This project focuses on the local delivery of nerve growth promoting drugs at the site of peripheral nerve injury. We have received funding from the DOD and NIH to investigate both drug delivery device development and the efficacy of locally delivered small molecules and proteins. Our lab has developed a biodegradable nerve conduit that can predictably release drugs to the site of an injury using diffusion kinetics. The device is capable of functioning in gap injuries, crush injuries or in conjunction with autologous nerve grafts. Our lab has studied the device in a rodent sciatic nerve injury model and we have identified candidate drugs for local delivery.

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Educational Leadership & Policy | College of Education


University of Utah Prison Education Project
Erin Castro, Assistant Professor

The University of Utah Prison Education Project (UPEP) is a multidisciplinary collaborative effort providing on-site college curriculum and programming to students incarcerated in Draper and Timpanogos prisons. Through a commitment to educational equity and justice, UPEP aims to build a culture of sustained academic inquiry inside Utah prisons and to create positive impacts on students, volunteers, families, communities, the University of Utah, and the broader society. The mission of UPEP is to provide quality, sustained, and meaningful higher educational opportunities to individuals incarcerated in Utah state prisons. Through embodying the mission of the University of Utah, the project aims to assist incarcerated students and non-incarcerated volunteers to live lives of impact, both in prison and post-incarceration, by fostering leadership, civic engagement, and critical inquiry. UPEP seeks to positively contribute to our state and the broader society through reducing recidivism and improving the welfare of post-incarcerated individuals, families, and communities throughout the state of Utah.

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Educational Psychology | College of Education


Voice-Activated Digital Assistant: An Application for Teacher Professional Development and Technology Integration
Eric Poitras, Assistant Professor

Voice-activated digital assistants such as Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant has emerged as powerful platforms on smart devices, enabling users to interact with an artificial intelligence conversationally through voice. In the 21st century classroom, technology integration has become a central issue for teachers, who face many demands at work on a daily basis. This often leads young teachers to leave the profession because of lack of communication and support. The aim of this project is to explore the affordances of voice-activated assistants in supporting teachers to design lessons that implement technologies in the classroom. In particular, a voice-based application called nAdviser, where teachers interact with Amy to learn more about web services such as Plickers, PlayPosit, Google Forms, Kahoot!, and so on. Our efforts will lead to novel insights into the quality of voice-based teacher experience with automated digital assistants such as nAdviser.

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Internal Medicine | College of Medicine


Salt and Water Homeostasis in Drosophila melanogaster
Aylin Rodan, Assistant Professor

Multicellular organisms maintain homeostasis of the internal milieu for optimal cellular functioning. This includes homeostasis of electrolyte concentrations, osmolality and pH. The kidney plays a central role in the maintenance of homeostasis through the regulation of transepithelial ion transport, the vectorial movement of water and ions across membranes. We study this process in the renal tubules of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. We have demonstrated a role for a chloride channel, bestrophin-1, in this process. We have also found that at the whole organism level, loss-of-function mutations in bestrophin-1 cause flies to die more quickly than wild-type when they are fed a high-salt diet. Ion transport occurs across different parts of the fly renal tubule, including the main segment and the lower segment, and also across the hindgut. Bestrophin-1 is expressed in all of these tissues. We would like to find out where bestrophin-1 is required in order for flies to survive on a high-salt diet. This will help us learn about ion transport processes important in iono- and osmoregulation. Perturbations of these processes in humans lead to electrolyte disorders, tonicity disorders and high or low blood pressure, which are frequent problems encountered in clinical practice that lead to patient morbidity and mortality.

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Internal Medicine | College of Medicine


SIRT5 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Michael Deininger, Professor

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has the most dismal prognosis of all blood cancers. More than 70% of AML patients will succumb to their disease. Treatment is still based on a chemotherapy regimen developed three decades ago and what little progress has been made is attributable to improvements in supportive care. Although most patients initially respond to therapy, leukemia stem cells survive in sanctuary sites of the bone marrow and eventually cause relapse and death. Intense research has identified the major DNA mutations in AML, but this knowledge has not led to therapeutic breakthroughs. To overcome this stalemate, our translational research team has screened primary AML cells (donated with informed consent by patients) to identify vulnerabilities that are independent of genetic mutations and persist despite protection afforded by the bone marrow. We have discovered that cells from most of the AML patients screened to date are highly dependent on SIRT5, an enzyme that regulates energy metabolism, while similar blood cells collected from healthy volunteers are not. Although these results have given us hope, SIRT5's exact role in AML is not at all clear at this point. Our lab is following several lines of investigation to understand why AML cell survival is dependent on SIRT5, and to identify the mechanisms that link depletion or inhibition of SIRT5 with AML cell death. The potential of this project to improve treatment strategies for AML has our lab enthused. We are excited to welcome a young scientist to learn about and contribute to this research.

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Physics & Astronomy | College of Science


Machine-Learning Based Background Rejection Software for the HAWC Gamma-Ray Observatory
Anushka Udara Abeysekara, Research Assistant Professor 

The High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) observatory is designed to observe high-energy gamma and cosmic rays. When high-energy gamma and cosmic rays enter the atmosphere, they interact with air molecules and generate extensive air showers (EAS). HAWC measures the arrival direction, energy, and the lateral distribution of the particles in the shower. The energy and the arrival direction of the primary gamma/cosmic rays are derived using this information. The primary interest of our group is to use HAWC to observe gamma-rays. Therefore, the events generated due to cosmic rays, our background, need to be removed from the data. However, the ratio of triggered gamma-ray events to cosmic-ray events is 1 to 1000. Therefore, a good background rejection algorithm is necessary to detect gamma-rays. HAWC currently uses a simple linear selection filter, which is based on the particle clustering along the lateral plane. Our studies of simulated data show that other information, such as the charge distribution, and arrival time of particles can improve the background rejection algorithm. However, the selection filter becomes nonlinear when we add more parameters, and becomes impractical to define an analytical formula as a selection filter. Therefore, our group applied a Boosted Decision Tree (BDT) algorithm implemented using the TMVA package to derive a machine learning based cut. Preliminary studies show that the machine learning algorithm can improve the background rejection by about 20%. We propose that an undergraduate student apply the python based scikit-learn machine learning tool, an industry standard, to improve the background rejection algorithm..

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Internal Medicine | College of Medicine


The Effects of Recurrent Hypoglycemia on Neural Glucose Sensing
Owen Chan, Associate Professor

The importance of maintaining good glucose control over a lifetime of diabetes to avoid cardiovascular, renal and neurological complications has been well established by several landmark clinical trials. However, lowering glycemic goals for diabetic patients increases their risk for hypoglycemia ("low blood sugar") exposure. Hence, hypoglycemia is one of the most serious acute complications of insulin-treated diabetes and remains the limiting factor in maintaining proper glycemic control. The brain and in particular, the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), plays an important role in detecting when blood glucose levels start to fall and then activates the appropriate hormone responses to correct the decline. However, repeated exposure to hypoglycemia can impair the brain's ability to sense a fall in blood sugar levels. Our laboratory's primary focus centers around understanding how neurons in the brain detect hypoglycemia and coordinates an appropriate hormone response through the release of neurotransmitters. More importantly, we try to understand how recurring exposure to hypoglycemia and diabetes impact these sensing mechanisms and look for potential therapeutic targets that can prevent hypoglycemia. Our lab combines cutting-edge neuroscience and molecular genetic techniques with classic physiology to evaluate brain and peripheral metabolism. If hypoglycemia can be prevented, it will enable physicians to treat diabetes more aggressively and allow patients to achieve more optimal glucose targets, decrease the risk of diabetic complications and improve lifelong outcomes.

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School of Computing | College of Engineering


Automated Dungeon Mastering
Rogelio Cardona-Rivera, Assistant Professor

This project targets the development of an artificial intelligence (AI) agent capable of running (in whole or in part) a tabletop role-playing game (i.e. serving as a "dungeon master"). The development of such an agent is said to be a "grand challenge" of the interactive storytelling research community. The student(s) will develop an AI agent that automates a lot of the necessary minutiae that happens during a session of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). In D&D, the dungeon master (DM):

"is the game organizer and participant in charge of creating the details and challenges of a given adventure, while maintaining a realistic continuity of events. In effect, the Dungeon Master controls all aspects of the game, except for the actions of the player characters (PCs), and describes to the players what they see and hear."

Storytelling is increasingly relied upon in technology applications to entertain, educate, and engage our society in more compelling ways. This project will explore technology that may enable the automatic production of on-demand, user-specific narrative tailored to a person's specific background and information needs. The research will further advance society by serving as a technological foundation for novel systems leveraging narrative in contexts where we already see the use of manually/semi-manually created narratives in virtual environments, such as training and learning, entertainment, rehabilitation therapy, intelligence analysis, cognitive intervention for aging populations, automated news generation, and health care communication.

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Biology | College of Science


Determine the high-resolution structure of octahedral polyomavirus by cryogenic electron microscopy
David Belnap, Research Associate Professor

Viruses are biological entities that encase a genome in a protective membranous covering or protein shell. The coverings or shells are found in a large diversity of shapes and sizes. Polyomaviruses are viruses that infect humans and many other animals. The capsids of polyomaviruses are made up of protein VP1. This protein has the unusual ability to form shells of different shapes. Different shapes are formed by treating the protein under different chemical conditions. One shape that can be formed is an octahedral shell. We will grow VP1 in bacteria, harvest the protein, form octahedral particles, and image particles by cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM). Cryo-EM will include two-dimensional imaging followed by three-dimensional image reconstruction of the octahedral structure. Finally, we will model the atomic-resolution structure of the octahedral form and compare it to other known forms. This study should enable us to better understand how polyomavirus VP1 is able to form such divergent shells.

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Psychology | College of Social & Behavioral Science


Electrophysiological correlates of efficient visual search
Trafton Drew, Assistant Professor

There are many instances where the ability to find a target can have important societal consequences. There is a great value in identifying individuals who are good at detecting cancer on radiological scans or baggage screening situations. The current projects aims to identify the electrophysiological correlates that differentiate good searchers from poor searchers. Identifying these correlates may help us:

  1. identify what aspects of processing information are critical in determining success during visual search
  2. identify individuals who may be more likely to excel at tasks that require excellent visual search performance.

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Internal Medicine | College of Medicine


Alteration of Glycolysis/Pentose phosphate pathway in failing and recovering hearts
Stavros Drakos, Associate Professor

Remarkable improvements in myocardial structure and function have been reported in some advanced heart failure (HF) patients undergoing "mechanical unloading" induced by left ventricular assist devices (LVAD). Unlike other HF therapies, which have also been associated with significant myocardial improvement, this tractable and specific LVAD population provides us access to pre-treatment myocardial tissue from both responders and non- responders which has enabled us to start probing the "signature" of myocardium that has the potential to improve. Our central hypothesis is that refining this "signature" will lead to a rational therapeutic approach in severe HF and will reveal broader recovery principles applicable to all stages and severity of HF. We hypothesized that specific metabolic adaptations drive myocardial recovery. Our preliminary data after examining myocardial tissue from normal donors and LVAD patients suggests a post- LVAD mismatch in glycolytic versus mitochondria oxidative phosphorylation that may indicate increased flux through the cardioprotective pentose phosphate pathway. We will employ novel and powerful in vivo metabolic flux studies using stable isotopes, mitochondrial respiratory measurements and metabolomics to test this hypothesis.
This project offers a rare opportunity to closely integrate clinical function, structure and in vivo mechanistic studies in human HF and recovery. Novel biological insights that inform both our clinical and basic science understanding of myocardial recovery has the potential to inform our understanding of HF pathology and potential recovery throughout the continuum of HF severity and will impact our treatment and management of advanced HF patients.

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Surgery | College of Medicine


Development of Infection-Free Percutaneous Osseointegrated Prosthetics
Sujee Jeyapalina, Research Assistant Professor

Osseointegrated (OI) percutaneous prostheses are directly anchored within the bone of the residual limb and utilize a percutaneous connection to the external artificial limb. The OI prosthetic limbs represent a promising alternative to conventional socket prostheses. Currently, there are three types of OI prostheses under clinical trial in the USA. Success of these trials will enable a wider use of this technology within the US health care system. Our research group consists of experienced clinician scientists, orthopaedic engineers and translational scientists. Our group is working to improve current OI prosthetic systems' longevity and functionalities. Our research activities include microbiome studies, histological analyses, animal model development, bio-ceramic, biomimetic coatings, implant designs and tissue phenotyping.

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