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Biomedical Sciences Seminar Series

Winter 2006 Poster Presentation

February 3, 2006 at 1 pm

Physical Sciences Lobby

Poster #1-Paul Paster

The Use of an Adaptive Glove to Aid Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury During Exercise 

P. K. Paster*, A. M. Davidian, T. Z. Semerjian, R. D. de leon  
Department of Kinesielogy and Nutritional Science
California State University Los Angeles


Background: It is critically important for people with spinal cord injury (SCI) to exercise because of the risk of disease and other health issues related to SCI. In the past, the life expectancy of those living with SCI was relatively short because of respiratory problems and other complications. Today they are expected to live longer, so more focus will be on the improvement of quality of life. Rehabilitation of people with SCI involves working out with exercise machines and weights. This requires a certain level of manual dexterity. Some individuals with SCI (at the C1 thru C7 level) have lost the ability to grip with their hands.

Methods: The focus will be on the development and testing of an adaptive training glove that will be used to help individuals with SCI to exercise effectively, safely, and universally by allowing them to use different exercise equipment with ease. The adaptive glove was tested on two pieces of exercise equipment, the Versa Trainer and the arm APT (active passive trainer).

Results: The study will use feedback from questionnaires and interviews on how to improve the function, comfort and aesthetics of the adaptive training glove and to assess the psychological and social well being of individuals with SCI in an exercise program.

Conclusions: If individuals with SCI can use existing exercise equipment with ease the more likely they will adhere to an exercise program in the future. The development of this adaptive glove is part of a larger study that will evaluate existing exercise devices during training sessions with individuals with SCI.

Acknowledgments:  Funding for this project has been provided by the Department of Education, grant number H133E020732.


Poster #2-Angie Iniguez

cDNA Cloning and Characterization of a Secreted Luciferase from the Luminous Ostracod, Vargula tsujii

Angelina Iniguez and Elizabeth Torres
Department of Biological Sciences, California State University Los Angeles,
Los Angeles, CA 90032


Abstract: The marine cypridinid ostracod Vargula tsujii exhibits bioluminescence by secreting the luciferin substrate and luciferase enzyme into seawater. The objective of this research is to isolate, clone and sequence the luciferase cDNA from V. tsujii. The luciferases of V. hilgendorfii and Cypridina noctiluca, two cypridinids that are native to Japan, have been sequenced and used as reporter genes. Two methods will be used here to isolate V. tsujii luciferase: (1) a V. tsujii cDNA library will be used as template in a series of PCRs, (2) the V. tsujii cDNA library will be screened with probes from V. hilgendorfii luciferase cDNA, or with partial luciferase cDNAs obtained from V. tsujii by PCR. The isolated products obtained from both methods will be sequenced and analyzed on an automated sequencer. The sequences will be identified through BLAST searches. V. tsujii luciferase will be compared to the luciferases of V. hilgendorfii and C. noctiluca. Sequence comparisons will provide insight into conserved domains in the luciferase enzyme, and reveal how the enzymes have evolved in different genera. Since V. tsujii is distantly related to the other two species, these methods have proven challenging for isolating V. tsujii luciferase. Once the sequence for V. tsujii luciferase is obtained, it will be cloned into an expression vector for expression in mammalian cells. The V. tsujii luciferase may be an even more sensitive reporter gene than that of C. noctiluca or V. hilgendorfii, and can be used for monitoring gene expression in vivo in mammalian cells.


Poster #3- Rudy Victoria

Analyzing Anti-Asian Hate: Understanding Aversive Racism Using Racial Identity Theory

Authors: Eric L. Kohatsu, Ph.D., Rodolfo Victoria, B.A., Andrew Lau, B.A., Shannen Vong, B.A., Anna Arredondo, B.A., Katia Barquero, B.A., Andrea Salazar, Jason Lessing, M.A.


Abstract: The Model Minority myth stereotype assumes that Asian-Americans are exempt from the perils of racial discrimination.  Consequently, the stereotype creates the perception that Asian-Americans are overly competent but simultaneously creates the perception that Asian Americans lack sociability skills (Lin, Kwan, Cheung, & Fiske, 2005).  Taken together, these characteristics function to legitimize rejection of Asian Americans in the perception that competence was begotten at the expense of sociability. The purposes of this study were to examine the relationship between color-blind and racial identity attitudes and perceptions of Asian Americans as being overly competent yet unsociable as posited by the Model Minority Myth and the Stereotype Content Model.  67 males and 193 females from a culturally diverse west coast university participated in this study (N =200). Results showed that Anti-Asian American prejudice does seem to be related to racial identity attitudes in a theoretically consistent manner.  Racial identity attitudes were also shown to predict color-blindness in a theoretically consistent manner. Implications will be presented.


Poster #4- Shandee Dixon

Nucleotide Sequence Confirmation of Mutations in the F and M genes of Reverse-Genetics Mutants of the F1-R Sendai Virus Variant

 Authors:   Shandee Dixon, Milton Medina, Dr. Joe Seto, and Dr. Nancy McQueen


Abstract:Wild-type Sendai virus has been shown to cause a pneumotropic infection in mice while F1-R, a pantropic mutant, causes a systemic infection.  It has been hypothesized that there are two major determinants responsible for the pantropism of F1-R.  The first relates to the cleavability of the fusion (F) protein. Cleavage of the wt F protein, which occurs at amino acid 116, can only be done by Tryptase Clara, a protease restricted to the lung epithelium. Thus, wt virus can only undergo multiple rounds of replication in the lungs. F1-R F contains six amino acid substitutions, including a substitution at amino acid F115 that is adjacent to the F116 cleavage site. F115 plus one or more of the other F1-R F amino acid substitutions have been shown to act in concert to allow the F1-R F protein to be cleaved by ubiquitous host cell proteases.  Thus, F1-R can undergo multiple rounds of replication in organs other than the lungs.  The second determinant relates to the budding behavior of the viruses.  Wt Sendai virus buds directly into the lungs from the apical domain of polarized respiratory epithelial cells, thus causing a localized respiratory tract infection.  F1-R buds from both the apical and basolateral  domains of polarized respiratory epithelial cells, thus allowing for viral entry into the basement membrane and ultimately into the blood stream for dissemination to cause a systemic infection.  Studies have shown that the F1-R matrix (M) protein, contains two amino acid substitutions at M128 (Asp → Gly) and M210 (Ile → Thr), that, when expressed cause a disruption of the microtubule network of cells and a loss in cell polarity that leads to bipolar transport of the viral envelope proteins and bipolar budding of the virus. Although F1-R has amino acid substitutions in viral proteins other than F and M, we have hypothesized that specific combinations of the amino acid substitutions in the F and M proteins of Sendai are responsible for the pantropic behavior of the virus. To confirm this hypothesis a reverse-genetics viral recovery system was used to generate three variant viruses, RGV-0, RGV-1 and RGV-7.  RGV0 contains all six of the F1-R F and both of the F1-R M protein amino acid substitutions while RGV1 contains only the F115 substitution and RGV7 contains the F115 and both M amino acid substitutions.  When these viruses were used to infect three-week old mice, RGV1 and RGV7 were both pneumotropic, while RGV0 caused a systemic infection.  Viruses were collected from the infected organs of the mice and the viral RNA was sequenced to prove that the viral genomes contained the appropriate mutations. Sequencing results indicated that, while RGV0 retained the F1-R change at F115, this change was lacking in the viruses isolated from the RGV1 and RGV7 infected mice.  These results suggest that one of three things had happened: the viruses used for the initial infections were mixed up before the infections took place, the viral samples from the animals were mixed up, or there truly was a reversion of F115 back to wild-type sequence in the viruses isolated from the RGV1 and RGV7 infected mice.  We report here on the sequencing of the original viral stocks used for the animal infections. Viral RNA recovered from the reverse-genetics mutants was transcribed into cDNA by means of Reverse-Transcriptase PCR using primers specific to the F1-R M and F genes. The cDNA fragments were then sequenced to confirm the presence of the desired mutations. Sequencing of the cDNA fragments revealed that the viruses used for the initial infections of the mice were in fact correct.  However further animal studies need to be completed in order to rule out the potential mix up in the samples after infection as well as the possible reversion of F115 to wild-type sequence.


Poster #5-Iris Cruz

Synthesis of unsymmetrical tetra(aminomethyl)adamantane amides

 Iris Cruz, Asmik Oganesyan, and Carlos Gutierrez*


Although iron is the fourth most abundant element it is highly insoluble under cellular conditions.  A bacterium utilizes siderophores to increase the solubility of iron.  These siderophores enter bacteria through highly selective receptors.  The siderophore of interest is enterobactin (1), which enters through the FepA receptor.   In order to further study the entrance of the siderophore, we synthesize a bifunctional enterobactin-analogue.  This unsymmetric analogue demands the development of new chemistry; here we present synthesis of tricatecholateadamantane (2) protected intermediate starting from inexpensive adamantane. 




Poster #6-Iris Rauda

Studies of the Amyloidogenic Protein Beta-Amyloid with Copper via Atomic Force Microscopy 

Iris E. Rauda, Dianlu Jiang, Feimeng Zhou*

This project involves the study of an amyloidogenic protein called beta-amyloid (Aβ).  The aggregation of beta-amyloid has been implicated as a critical step in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), where the beta-amyloid protein forms thick deposits, or plaques, in the brains of people with AD.  Recently it has been suggested that the presence of metals can promote or catalytically enhance this aggregation process.  Our lab is interested in the interactions between beta-amyloid and copper, specifically the stages of the Aβ-Cu complex formation.  From preliminary results, it has been understood that the overall process is progressive.  We believe that initially an Aβ monomer coordinates with Cu, and with the progression of the process, coordination of Aβ dimmer, tetramer and so on are most likely formed, and in the end large aggregates of the Aβ-Cu complex are expected.  The objective in this project is to use atomic force microscopy (AFM) to study the Aβ-Cu stages of aggregation. 



Poster #7-Jaime Anguiano

Synthesis of Bifunctional Adamantane Derivatives

Author’s: Jaime Anguiano and Carlos G. Gutierrez


In response to iron deficiency, E. coli produces and excretes enterobactin (1) to capture ferric iron and bring it into the bacterial cell through the FepA outer membrane receptor. FepA is selective at the cathecolate unit, but very forgiving for the backbone structure.  This provides an opportunity for synthesizing an enterobactin-analogue containing adamantane as the core with a catechol unit and a second functional unit 180°C apart.  To test the notion that the FepA receptor can be recruited to transport small molecules into the bacterial cell, we have prepared bifunctional adamantane derivatives 2 which contain an enterobactin-like domain, a linker, and a second functional domain. 





Poster #8-Exequiel Tostado

Benzo[a]pyrene  Photodegradation Mechanisms in Solution 

Exequiel Tostado

Advisor: Dr. Krishna Foster

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) refer to hydrocarbons containing two or more fused benzene rings. Most PAHs have mutagenic and carcinogenic properties. PAHs are generated by the incomplete combustion of organics such as fossil fuels. Removal pathways of PAHs in the environment include biodegradation and photo-oxidation mechanisms, the latter being the leading mode of removal.

In recent years, two dominant photo-oxidation mechanisms have been proposed: 1) auto-oxidation via singlet oxygen; 2) charge transfer (CT) complex that results from a PAH electron transfer to dioxygen. Photochemical products of the mechanisms include diones, ketones, alcohols, diols and aldehydes. The proposed study will aim to identify the mechanisms by which PAHs photodegrade in solution. We hypothesize that the dominant PAH photodegradation mechanism will be determined by the polarity of the solution in which the PAH is solvated. Using benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) as the model PAH compound, the project will measure reaction quantum yields of BaP photoproducts in solution with varying polarity. Identification of the dominant PAH photodegradation mechanism will be made by selectively removing intermediates from the system and quantifying the effect of these perturbations on product yield.




Poster #9-Veronica Barahona

Preparation and Characterization of a Silica Gel Supported
Zirconium(IV) Complex

Veronica Barahona and Dr. Wayne Tikkanen
California State University of  Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California 90032

The immobilization of chiral complexes supported on silica gel to form a heterogeneous chiral Lewis acid catalyst for the [4+2] cycloaddition is our main focus. Currently, 1-1-Bi-2-napthol (1) and tetrakis(dimethylamido)zirconium(IV) (2) are reacted to create a zirconium chiral complex (3). The chiral complex (3) is bonded to dried silica gel to produce a silica gel supported chiral complex (4).  Silica gel has different numbers of surface hydroxide groups that are sensitive to temperature, making the drying process an important process. Our results indicate that when silica gel is dried in an oil bath under an inert atmosphere, Zr(N(CH3))4 (2) loses two amido ligands to form two µ-oxo bonds to the silica gel surface, as confirmed by solid state 13C and 29Si NMR. The solid state NMR spectrum of silica gel supported binol zirconium(IV) (2) shows results consistent with this process.   Our current work focuses on the effectiveness of (4) as a catalyst for the [4+2] cycloaddition, and the temperature dependence of silica gel coordination modes.




Poster #10- Daniel Castellano
Code Compression for Embedded Systems
Reducing code-size in embedded systems is a challenge faced by many computer architects for many years. The recent expansion of the embedded system market has led to high performance demands, making it more difficult to comply with rigid code-size requirements. Many approaches have been implemented to allow for acceptable trade-offs between code-size and performance. In this study, we will explore statistical and dictionary-based code compression methods and measure their performance using an efficient software-managed decoder. A series of experiments will quantify performance and code-size improvements, including calculations CPU execution time and compression savings. All experiments will be measured using SPEC CPU2000 and EEMBC benchmark suites.


Poster #11- Wilson Segura


Detecting Deception in Tests of Crime Related Recall and Recognition Memory

Presenter: Wilson Segura
Faculty advisor: Joel Ellwanger, Ph.D.


Research has shown that increases in mental processing load cause the pupil of the eye to increase in size. For instance, giving subjects an increasingly difficult mental arithmetic problem causes pupil size to increase while the subject commits increasing levels of mental effort.  Additionally, research has also shown that defensive reflexes such as the startle response increase in amplitude when an organism is aversely motivated.  The purpose of this project is to apply cognitive processing as well as automatic physiological measures to eyewitness memory and deception.  I hypothesize that the increased mental processing load associated with deception also has this effect on pupil size.  I also hypothesize that the heightened adverse emotional state brought on by deception will cause an increase in startle eye blink response.  Participants will answer questions based on a mock crime scenario both truthfully and deceptively.  It is expected that pupil size and startle eye blink response will be larger on trials where deception is present, compared to trials where responding is truthful.  Additionally, it is also expected that pupil size will be larger on trials where memory has been activated. 


Poster #12- David Hernandez

Synthesis And Characterization Of A Modified Naphthochromene Photoreversible Calcium Chelator

David Hernandez, Satish Kumar, and Alison McCurdy,
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
California State University, Los Angeles,

Abstract: Some efforts have been made in probing the downstream effects of oscillations in cytosolic calcium concentration, but few have explored the effect of these oscillations on their targets at the molecular level. In order to explore this phenomenon, our laboratory is currently designing molecules with a photochromic switch that would be able to encapsulate and release Ca2+ in response to light. One of our designs, and current synthetic target, is compound A which is hypothesized to have a lower affinity for Ca2+ than that of form B. This design utilizes the napthochromene (C) as the photochromic scaffold which will enable the compound to switch between forms A and B in response to light in order to take up and release Ca2+. Significant progress has been made in the multi-step synthesis of compound A. Preliminary photochemical studies of compound C show promising strides towards a photoreversible switch at room temperature.


Poster #13-Luis Gonzalez

The Role of Arginine at Position 183 in Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase

Luis Gonzalez
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
California University Los Angeles, CA 90036

Abstract: Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase (PEPc) is a significant carboxylating enzyme in plant cell metabolism, implicated in the photosynthetic pathway of C4 cycle plants. The enzyme has various functions, but in maize (Zea mays L.) its principal function is the photosynthetic fixation of carbon dioxide.  Most allosterically regulated enzymes such as PEPc are constructed from two or more subunits; PEPc is a tetramer composed of four identical subunits.  Our experimental approach is to manipulate the primary structure of the protein through site-directed mutagenesis and test the enzymatic activity of the mutant enzyme. In the mutant R183A, we have replaced the basic amino acid arginine at position 183 with alanine a non polar amino acid. Once the mutation was confirmed through sequencing, then the mutant enzyme was isolated and its regulatory properties were obtained using kinetics. It was found that the mutant R183A is a much weaker binder of glycine and G6P. The mutant R183A does not respond normally to the activator Glucose-6-phosphate, instead it is inhibited by it. Although activation does occur when exposed to glycine large quantities are needed in order to see some % activation. The findings are consistent with some results obtained from another previous mutant R184A, which also became inhibited by G6P; these mutants were created in the same region where Arg183 is found. PEP and malate (an inhibitor) were found to have the same effect as in wild-type

Poster #14- Francis Udeh

The Use of Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry 

(ICP-MS) for  Trace Metal  Analysis in  Environmental Samples.

Francis Udeh
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Grady Hanrahan



ABSTRACT: This poster discusses the experimental setup and optimization of a Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) system for the determination of trace metals in natural waters. Basic principles of the instrument are explained as well as method development and optimization techniques. Preliminary calibration results are presented and future work regarding the analysis of natural water samples from the Desert Studies Center in Zzyzyx, Ca. discussed.  


Poster #15- Ramon Mercado

The Detection of Eicosenoate in the Saponified Serum of Jojoba Oil-Fed New Zealand White Rabbits Using HPLC


Ramon A. Mercado


Jojoba oil (JO) is a wax ester that consists mainly of the fatty acid eicosenoate (20:1) and the fatty alcohol eicosenol (20:1). Previous studies in our laboratory have shown that female New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits fed a 2% JO diet for seven days have a significantly increased HDL-C concentration. Dietary JO, therefore regulates the metabolism of HDL-C, which may be due to either the intact wax ester of JO or to one of its hydrolyzed components, namely eicosenoate or eicosenol. Our objective is to determine whether the phenacyl esters of fatty acids can be used to identify fatty acids and to detect the presence of eicosenoate in the serum of JO-fed rabbits via high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with a UV-Vis detector. The blood of female NZW rabbits fed a rabbit chow supplemented with 3% (w/w) JO for 14 days was collected and the serum obtained by centrifugation.  Lipids were extracted from serum, followed by fractionation via HPLC. Specific fractions were saponified, from which the fatty acids were extracted and  conjugated with a phenacyl group. The components of the resultant mixture of fatty acid phenacyl esters (FAPEs) were separated via HPLC. The results showed  that the FAPEs can be used to identify fatty acids in lipids and that eicosenoate can be detected in serum lipids of rabbits fed a JO-rich diet using this method.

Poster #16-James Nunnelley

Successes On the Road Toward

James Nunnelley

Abstract: In hopes of achieving selectivity during syntheses of target molecules, our group has endeavored to prepare bulky zirconocene complexes, with chiral auxillary ligands. Several attempts to attach the pentaphenylcylcopentadienyl ligand (Cppro) and the chiral auxillary ligand (S)-phenylethylalcohol (PEA) onto Tetrakis(dimethylamido)zirconium (IV); have revealed that order of addition and reaction temperature are crucial parameters to this process. These challenges were successfully dealt with during experimental attempts to attach the Cppro ligand and chloride ligands, onto the Tetrakis(dimethylamido)zirconium(IV) starting complex. The respective yields for the reactions with Cppro and Chloride are 83.44%
and 73%.


Poster #17- Joseph Gomez

Ultra Wideband Coexistence for Short Range Wireless Communication

Joseph Alexander Gomez, Dr. Fereydoun Daneshgaran
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
California State University, Los Angeles 

Abstract:  Ultra-wideband (UWB) technology offers a solution for the demand of high speed wireless communications achieving high data rates while having low power consumption for the next generation consumer electronics.  UWB systems will be strong to withstand multipath fading when a transmitted radio frequency (RF) signal can reflect off various objects causing destructive interference especially when dealing with indoor signal propagation.  UWB has the potential to enable wireless connectivity of many high bandwidth types of peripherals, such as, video cameras, high-definition digital television, and PDA’s just to name a few.  We will present an overview of the UWB technology along with its use in data communications.

Coexistence with other wireless systems, with limited interference, is an important issue that must be properly addressed in order for ultra-wideband systems to offer quality service. In particular, this prospectus will take a look at IEEE 802.11b/g/n as an interference source as well as multi-user interference.  System performance and evaluation of methods of improvement will be considered while still meeting FCC regulations.  The goal of this thesis prospectus is to introduce an overview of our proposed project to investigate circumstances dealing with the coexistence issues of UWB and IEEE 802.11a.  Future research can incorporate an extension of the principles presented here in order to consider other forms of interference.


Poster #18-Jessica Gonzalez


Jessica Gonzalez

ABSTRACT: Preorganization of multifunctional groups plays a crucial role in biological systems.  The inherent preorganization and synthetic modularity of the resorcinarene cavitands makes them a popular building block for constructing enzyme models and other molecules which may mimic biological processes.  We report the synthesis and characterization of mono- and disubstituted adenosine cavitands by condensation of 2-aminomethyl substituted cavitands with the 5’-carboxylic acid groups of protected adenosine nucleosides.


Poster #19-

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