|Friday, April 20th|
Jessica Stevens, Winthrop University
Faculty Mentor: Zachary Abernathy, Ph.D., and Kristen Abernathy, Ph.D.
We present a system of four nonlinear ordinary differential equations to model the use of virotherapy as a treatment for cancer. This model specifically describes the interactions among infected tumor cells, uninfected tumor cells, effector T-cells, and virions. Using local and global stability analysis techniques, we establish conditions on model parameters to ensure a stable cure state of the full model as well as various submodels. We illustrate these dynamics through numerical simulations of the model using estimated parameter values from the literature, and we conclude with a discussion on the biological implications of our results.
Elizabeth McAbee, Winthrop University
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the capability to differentiate into one or more cell lineages. Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) are multipotent, mesenchymal stem cells that are located within the microvasculature of adipose tissue. Although ADSCs have the ability to differentiate into multiple cell lineages, there has been little documented success in differentiating ADSCs into myogenic lineages, specifically skeletal muscle. Many of the reports of skeletal myogenic differentiation of ADSCs have relied on a protocol that includes treatment with the DNA methylation inhibitor 5-azacytidine. In addition, previous work in our lab suggests that culture with 5-azacytidine induces the expression of genes associated with enhanced developmental potency. Thus, we hypothesized that a myogenic induction protocol that includes treatment with 5-azacytidine in combination with horse serum and low-glucose DMEM would result in the myogenic differentiation of ADSCs into skeletal myoblasts and myotubes. To test our hypothesis, we employed real-time PCR to monitor changes in the expression of genes that regulate myogenic differentiation and immunofluorescent staining to detect the appearance of myotubes. Future work will include replicating this experiment with ADSCs grown in/on a variety of substrates that are expected to further enhance myogenic differentiation. The ability to induce myogenic differentiation of ADSCs would allow ADSCs to serve as a plentiful source of myogenic cells for skeletal muscle tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications.
Madeline Diaz, Winthrop University
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the potential to differentiate into a variety of cellular lineages. This ability of cells to differentiate is known as potency. These cells are of particular interest to the field of regenerative medicine, as they present an opportunity for highly effective therapy. However, the cells most suited for clinical applications are embryonic stem cells, which are highly controversial. One method of overcoming this controversy is by using induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs). These cells can be generated by overexpressing a cocktail of transcription factors in non-pluripotent cells, one of which is Oct4. Oct4 is a member of the POU transcription factor family. Its unique structural components allow it to not only bind DNA, but also recruit additional transcription factors to elicit a cellular response. When Oct4 expression is upregulated, the expression of genes involved in stem cell pluripotency is also upregulated and developmental potency is enhanced. The work described here had two specific aims. The first was to clone the Oct4 gene into the pGene plasmid of the Invitrogen GeneSwitch™ System. The second aim was to use that plasmid in conjunction with the other components of the system in murine adipose derived stem cells (ADSCs) to enhance developmental potency. Preliminary findings indicate that the Oct4 gene has been successfully cloned into the pGene plasmid. Further investigation of this system may provide an alternate, less controversial opportunity for stem-cell-based regenerative therapy.
Alan Way, Winthrop University
Recently, investigation of the coprime graph of a group was initiated. The coprime graph of a group is a graph with vertices as group elements and an edge between two vertices if and only if their order (in the group) is relatively prime. We will explore chromatic, clique, and independence number for certain classes of finite groups. In addition, we classify which abelian groups give rise to perfect coprime graphs. We obtain a partial result on the class of nonabelian groups.
Sydney McCall, Winthrop University
Faculty Mentor: Kristen Abernathy, Ph.D., and Zachary Abernathy, Ph.D.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the known root cause for the vast majority of cervical cancers. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, and it has become the number one cancer in some developing countries. Immunotherapy is a treatment used to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease. Implementing immunotherapy to slow or eliminate the growth of cervical cancer cells is less harmful to the patient than other treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. Our model seeks to better understand the dynamics among HPV, cervical cancer, and immunotherapy. Furthermore, through global stability techniques, we provide sufficient conditions on immunotherapy treatment to ensure the eradication of HPV and cervical cancer cells, while allowing a positive population of healthy and immune cells to remain.
WEST 221 Session I, 12:45-2:15 p.m.