• Male adolescents of divorce:the relationship with their noncustodial father.

      Kerr, Christine.L (2012-04-13)
      Since the divorce rate in the United States began to rise dramatically in the 1970's researchers have studied the impact of divorce on those involved.The research indicates that children whose parents divorce are more likely than children whose parents remain married to suffer from a lower level of well-being and are at greater risk for a myriad of researchers have focused on the impact of divorce on male adolescents specifically,studies of adolescent males in general indicate they are at risk for a variety of problems including poor school performance,accidents and involvement in crime. Recent research also indicates the importance of fathers in the lives of male adolescents.However,divorce frequently results in boys being placed in the custody of their mothers,which may disrupt their relationship with their noncustodial fathers.A modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen phenomenological method was used for interviewing and methods of analysis(Moustakes,1994).A qualitative investigation of the perceived experience of eight male adolescents of divorce and their relationships with their noncustodial fathers was conducted.The findings indicate that the experience of male adolescents(in this case all college students) regarding their relationships with their noncustodial father(a)impacts their perceptions of fathering.(b)creates a desire for a closer father-son relationship,(c)affects their definition of self,(d)results in a crossing of generational boundaries,(e)informs their lifetime meanings,(f)requires them to rely on others to meet their needs, and (g)confirms prior research findings that children are resilient and most do not carry debilitating psychological effects of divorce into adulthood.
    • Manipulation of Angiogenesis by Cyclosporine-A and Extracellular Matrix Molecules

      Pandey, Raghav (2012-10-19)
      Angiogenesis is the formation of new capillaries from pre-existing capillaries. Angiogenesis plays an important role in the blood vessel formation required during embryonic development, tissue injury, wound healing, and menstruation. It also plays a major role in tumor progression. We propose a mechanism that links the developmental pathways to a therapeutic pathway. Moreover, we show anti-angiogenic nature of an FDA approved immunosuppressant. Extra cellular matrix (ECM) has an important role in maintaining the shape and structure of organisms and in signaling mechanisms. Two major components of ECM are lumican and Magp2. Investigating their role might help us further link angiogenesis to tumor progression in cancer. We show the pro-angiogenic nature of Magp2 in an in-vivo model. Although this project is in early stages, it would provide a good foundation for future study. The aim of this thesis was to check the effect of blocking angiogenesis on tumor growth through different ECM proteins (Lumican and Magp2) and therapeutics (cyclosporine-A). Studying the progression of tumor links the chapters together.
    • Novel Phytol-Derived Immunostimulants (PHIS-01) for Enhancement of Vaccine Efficacy: A Comparative Study

      Youssef, Aachoui (2011-09-16)
      Adjuvants are used widely in vaccine formulations. However for humans, choices are very limited. Since they are selected empirically, it is not expected that any two adjuvants would influence immune mechanisms the same way. However they all influence host microenvironment, antigen presentation, and retention of immunological memory. This study focuses on new terpenoid adjuvants based on phytol derivatives. We previously observed that phytol and one of its derivatives PHIS-01 (a phytol-based immunostimulant, phytanol) are excellent adjuvants. To gain an understanding of the structural features important for adjuvanticity, we further studied compounds derived from a diterpene Phytol. We designed two new phytol derivatives, PHIS-02 and PHIS-03 (aminated and mannosylated compounds respectively). In this study we investigated their relative safety and efficacy compared to PHIS- 01 (phytanol) and other commonly used adjuvants that include alum, Freunds’ adjuvants and SIS (extra-cellular matrix). In addition, we examined how changes at the polar terminus affect adjuvanticity of PHIS-01, PHIS-02, PHIS-03 in term of host microenvironment and safety profile. Using these adjuvants as emulsions with different soluble protein antigens, ovalbumin and a hapten-protein conjugate phthalate-KLH, we evaluated in both autoimmune resistant and susceptible murine models. The following immunological parameters were studied: 1) effects on antibody responses in terms of titers, specificities and isotypic profiles; 2) effects on T-helper cells, cytokines, and chemokines milieu; 3) involvements of apoptotic and/or necrotic activity and inflammasome pathways as their primary modes of action. Our results indicate that: 1)modified phytol-derived adjuvants significantly augment antibody response of isotypes IgG1 and IgG2a, promote effective T cell proliferation and exhibit no adverse autoimmune anti-DNA response in either autoimmune or non autoimmune mice. 2) Phytol derivatives function by activation of antigen-presenting cells involving apoptotic/necrotic effects on target cells. 3) Phytol derivatives improve vaccine immunogenicity by promoting regulated and nonpathogenic inflammatory changes in the immediate microenvironments, as characterized by mobilization of chemo tactic factors (MCP-1, KC, MIP-1, LIX, lymphotactin, eotaxin), growth factors (MCSF, GCSF, GM-CSF), and cytokines that mobilize innate and adaptive immunity and lead to T helper polarization and a magnified antibody response 4) PHIS -01, compared to PHIS-03 and alum , is a better activator of genes in the inflammasome pathways. In conclusion, our findings also clearly highlight the importance of bonds and functional moieties in shaping the adjuvanticity of phytol derivatives. Hydrogenation of phytol generates PHIS-01 which is a very safe and superior adjuvant in terms of the quality and magnitude of the overall immune response evoked. However, modification of its polar terminus of PHIS-01 with a hydrophilic mannose moiety (PHIS-03) profoundly changes the cytokine/chemokine milieu and favors T-helper type 2 rather than the T-helper type1 induced by PHIS-01.
    • Olfactory Mate Choice and Potential Chemical Signals of the White-Throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

      Sebastian, Peter (2011-03-15)
      Chemical odor signals are well documented in mammals, and yet almost nothing is known about the use of chemical odor signals in birds due to the traditional view that birds have a no sense or a poor sense of smell. Recent studies have revealed the traditional view to be unfounded, but more work is necessary to 1) expand our knowledge of avian olfaction in passerine species and 2) determine whether birds utilize chemical signals. The aim of this thesis was to 1) test for olfactory-based choice in a passerine species, and examine the chemical composition of preen oil for potential chemical signals. Results suggest that the polymorphic white-throated sparrow does choose between odors from their own bedding and odors from fresh bedding based on their unique disassortative mating, with tan males and white females choosing fresh bedding over their own and white males and tan females choosing their own bedding over fresh bedding. Additionally, a study on captive white-throated sparrows found that multiple preen oil volatile compounds were seasonally elevated during the breeding season, and thus indicate the possibility of these compounds acting as chemical signals. In wild populations, preen oil composition varied by morph-sex classes as well as by year sampled, and some compounds may even change throughout the course of the breeding season. Comparisons between wild populations and captive birds indicate that captive conditions may also alter preen oil composition.
    • Phylogenomics: Molecular Evolution in the Genomics Era

      Seetharam, Arun Somwarpet (2012-10-19)
      Evolutionary studies in recent years have been transformed by the development of new, powerful techniques for investigating many mechanisms and events of molecular evolution. Large collections of many different complete genomes now available in the public domain offer great advantages to genomic scale evolutionary studies. Phylogenomics, a term often used to describe the use of genomic scale data to infer species phylogeny or to predict protein function through evolutionary history, is greatly benefitted by the revolutionary progress in DNA sequencing technology. In the present study we developed and utilized various phylogenomic methods on large genome-scale data. In the first study, we applied Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) analysis to reexamine current evolutionary relationships for 12 Drosophila species using the predicted proteins from whole genomes. An SVD analysis on unfiltered whole genomes (193,622 predicted proteins) produced the currently accepted Drosophila phylogeny at higher dimensions, except for the generally accepted, but difficult to discern, sister relationship between D. erecta and D. yakuba. Also, in accordance with previous studies, many sequences appear to support alternative phylogenies. In this case, we observed grouping of D. erecta with D. sechellia when approximately 55% to 95% of the proteins were removed using a filter based on projection values or by reducing resolution by using fewer dimensions. In the second study, we simulated restriction enzyme digestions on 21 sequenced genomes of various Drosophila species. Using the fragments generated by simulated digestion from the predicted targets of 16 Type IIB restriction enzymes, we sampled a large and effectively arbitrary selection of loci from these genomes. The resulting fragments were then used to compare organisms and to calculate the distance between genomes in pair-wise combination by counting the number of shared fragments between the two genomes. Phylogenetic trees were then generated for each enzyme using this distance measure, and the consensus was calculated. The consensus tree obtained agrees well with the currently accepted tree for these Drosophila species. We conclude that multi-locus sub-genomic representation combined with next generation sequencing, especially for individuals and species without previous genome characterization, can improve studies of comparative genomics and the building of accurate phylogenetic trees. The third study utilized the relatively new Daphnia genome in an attempt to identify 40 orthologous groups of C2H2 Zinc-finger proteins that were previously determined to be well conserved in bilaterians. We identified 58 C2H2 ZFP genes in Daphnia that belong to these 40 distinct families. The Daphnia genome appears to be relatively efficient with respect to these well-conserved C2H2 ZFP, since only 7 of the 40 gene families have more than one identified member. Worms have a comparable number of 6. In flies and humans, C2H2 ZFP gene expansions are more common, since these organisms display 15 and 24 multi-member families respectively. In contrast, only three of the well-conserved C2H2 ZFP families have expanded in Daphnia relative to Drosophila, and in two of these cases, just one additional gene was found. The KLF/SP family in Daphnia, however, is significantly larger than that of Drosophila, and many of the additional members found in Daphnia appear to correspond to KLF 1/2/4 homologs, which are absent in Drosophila, but present in vertebrates. The last study was conducted to investigate the conservation and distribution of 38 C2H2 ZNF gene families in Eukaryotes. We combined two popular approaches for homolog detection, Reciprocal Best Hit (RBH) and Hidden–Markov model (HMM) profile search, on a diverse set of complete genomes of 124 eukaryotic species ranging from excavates to humans. We succeeded in identifying 3,675 genes as distinct members of the 38 C2H2 gene families. This largely automated technique is much faster than manual methods and is able to detect homologs accurately and efficiently among a diverse set of organisms. Our analysis of the 38 evolutionarily conserved C2H2 ZNF gene families revealed a stepwise appearance of ZNF families, agreeing well with the phylogenetic relationship of the organisms compared and their presumed stepwise increase in complexity.
    • Physiological Responses to Temperature in the Lizard, Sceloporus Undulatus

      Ehrenberger, Joseph C. (2010-07-20)
      Temperature affects all organisms differently. Physiological processes, such as metabolism, interact with temperature to determine a minimal rate of energy loss. Physiological limits, such as heat and cold tolerances, likely constrain the activity and survival of organisms. Ultimately, these physiological processes and limits determine a species‘ geographical distribution. Through experiments, I sought to understand specifically how temperature affects the physiology of the lizard Sceloporus undulatus. This species is a model organism to answer such questions, as it is geographically widespread species and well-described phylogenetically. In the first experiment, I compared standard metabolic rates of lizards from three locales and interpreted these rates in the context of the metabolic theory of ecology—a set of models that describes the effects of body mass and body temperature on metabolic rate. My findings indicate that metabolic rate increases with body size, but that the exact nature of this relationship depends on temperature; this result contrasts a major assumption of the metabolic theory of ecology, which stresses the need to evaluate this theory through by examining intraspecific variation. In my second experiment, I measured the preferred body temperatures and critical thermal limits of S. undulatus. Existing theory indicates that physiological traits associated with temperature may be evolutionary static or labile. By measuring these traits from seven populations, which cover the majority of this species‘ range, I have provided one of the most comprehensive comparisons of thermal physiology in a single biological species. My results are consistent with the static view of thermal physiology, suggesting that thermal physiology has not adapted to local conditions in this species.
    • Pollinator Deception and Plant Reproductive Success in Jack-In-The-Pulpit

      Pettit, Joseph L. (2010-07-20)
      I conducted a study of the deceptive pollination system of Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisama triphyllum, Araceae) in forests of west-central Indiana. I focused on (a) determining the identities and abundances of insect visitors to spathes, (b) evaluating the success of female spathes in setting fruit, (c) determining the relative importance of pollinator visitation and plant size for fruit number, and (d) investigating the function of the female spathe’s lack of an exit hole, which has been hypothesized to improve pollination success. I found that (a) Jack-in-the-pulpit receives visits from both flies and thrips. Counts of fly corpses from spathes showed the most prevalent families to be Mycetophilidae and Sciaridae with other nematoceran families and a few brachyceran families present as well. Visitation by thrips, determined by visual inspection of spathes, was low, involving only 30% of plants. (b) Fifty-seven percent of female plants set fruit, with much variation among sites. (c) Mushroom flies, especially the families Mycetophilidae and Sciaridae, were found to be the primary pollinators of Jack-in-thepulpit based on pollen loads, visit rates, and an exclusion experiment. Pollination by thrips, though possible, probably had only a minor effect. (d) An experiment that created an exit hole in female spathes yielded no support for the hypothesis that lack of an exit hole (the natural condition) improves fruit set.
    • Population genetic structure of blanding's turtle(emydiodea blandingii)in New York.

      McCluskey, Eric M (2012-04-25)
      The loss of genetic diversity is a major concern in conservation biology.As wild populations decline and become more isolated from one another overall genetic diversity is influenced by inbreeding,genetic drift and gene flow.Some of the consequences of inbreeding and genetic drift and gene flow are a decrease in a specie's adaptability and accumulation of deleterious alleles.As wetlands vanish,aquatic species can be permanently isolated with no access to adjacent habitat.I investigated how habitat fragmentation and population isolation are affecting gene flow and genetic diversity in Blanding's turtle(Emydoidea blandingii)populations in New York State.Four county populations(Jefferson,St Lawrence,Saratoga,Dutchess)and an adjacent Ontario population were included in this study.These represent populations both peripheral(Jefferson,St Lawrence,Ontario)and disjunct(Saratoga,Dutchess) to the main range.I found evelated genetic diversity in the populations on the periphery of the main range in the northern section of the state compared to the two eastern,disjunct populations.Subpopulations structuring was also evident in the St Lawrence and Dutchess Co populations.
    • Raising African American student graduation rates:A best practices study of predominantly white liberals arts college.

      Pool, Robert W (2012-05-21)
      This qualitative study sought to explore best practices at small, private liberal arts institutions that experienced large increases in African American graduation rates. Particular focus was on institutions that enrolled less than 17% minority students whose overall enrollment fell within the middle 50% of all SAT scores and the middle 50% of institutional full time equivalent (FTE) spending. Two colleges were selected for study via one-on-one interviews of key personnel, focus groups of students, and institutional document analyses. Themes from the data which participants felt contributed to the unusually large African American graduation rate increases are discussed.
    • Sex-instruction as the core of a high school biology course

      Woodrow, Walter H. (2012-06-28)
      Not Available.
    • Sexual Selection and Plumage in the Polymorphic White-throated Sparrow

      Rathbun, Nathan (2010-07-20)
      Feather coloration has been known to be connected with sexual selection for many years. It also provides an opportunity to study evolution, focusing on sexual selection and natural selection. Plumage is affected by both of these forces and the equilibrium is where these forces balance. The white-throated sparrow gives us a unique opportunity to observe the effects of the different strengths of these forces within a species. First, I established that there were differences in plumage characteristics between the morphs and sexes. White males had the brightest white and darkest black feathers. White females and tan males were the next brightest, with tan females having the dullest white and lightest black head stripes. Using plumage characteristics I was able to predict the morph/sex class of the bird significantly more than by chance. With the exact differences between each morph/sex class now known, I looked at the relationship between fitness and plumage. White males with higher overall contrast (brighter white, darker black) were more successful than duller white males. This was attributed to the males displaying their quality to females. Duller tan males however, were more successful than brighter tan males. With duller plumage, they may reduce predation on their nest while they are feeding their offspring. The differences in reproductive strategy changed the relative strength of natural and sexual selection between the morphs. Observing this interaction in this system will let us judge the relative strength of these forces in other systems.
    • Studies of Bee Diversity in Indiana: The Influence of Collection Methods on Species Captures, and a State Checklist Based on Museum Collection

      Jean, Robert P. (2011-03-29)
      Bees are among the most important of pollinators, but little is known about their status. I expand the knowledge of the bees of the Midwest by updating the bees of Indiana, the first update in over fifty years, by adding two local bee species inventories, in the black oak savannas of northeastern Indiana and another reconstructed based on museum specimens, and by comparing two methods for sampling bees. Bees from six families, 52 genera, and 416 species are represented in Indiana, an addition of over 200 species from precious lists. Species ranged from common to rare with a median abundance of 22 specimens. Distributions, life histories, flight decade, but several species have not been collected in the last 20-50 years. These are mainly rare or were last collected in an area or on a host flower species which has not been sampled recently. Four bumble bee species appear to be declining and another is likely extirpated. Bees are commonly sampled either by netting at flowers or by bowl trapping. The bases of these techniques were explored while inventorying black oak savannas. Netting at flowers collected more species at any given site, but using both methods gave the best picture of species richness. Both techniques collected all common species and differed mainly in the rare species collected. Smaller bees were significantly more likely to be captured in bowls, especially within the families Halictidae and Apidae. Bowls were also more likely to catch more bees when fewer flower resources were available for bees. These studies represent a significant addition to knowledge of bee distribution and abundance in the Midwest.
    • Summer Indiana Bat Ecology in the Southern Appalachians: An Investigation of Thermoregulation Strategies and Landscape Scale Roost Selection

      Hammond, Kristina (2014-03-18)
      In the southern Appalachians there are few data on the roost ecology of the federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis). During 2008-2012, we investigated roosting ecology of the Indiana bat in ~280,000 ha in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, and Nantahala National Forest in the southern Appalachians Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. We investigated 2 aspects of the Indiana bat’s roosting ecology: thermoregulation and the extrinsic factors that influence body temperature, and landscape-scale roost selection. To investigate thermoregulation of bats at roost, we used data gathered in 2012 from 6 female Indiana bats (5 adults and 1 juvenile) to examine how reproductive condition, group size, roost characteristics, air temperature, and barometric pressure related to body temperature of roosting bats. We found that air temperature was the primary factor correlated with bats’ body temperatures while at roost (P < 0.01), with few differences detected among reproductive classes in terms of thermoregulatory strategies. To understand how Indiana bats select roosts on a landscape-scale, we created a presence-only model through the program MaxENT using 76 known roost locations to identify areas important to summer roosting habitat within our study area and to identify important landscape-scale factors in habitat selection. The final model showed that Indiana bats selected roosts on the upper portion of ridges on south facing slopes in mixed pine-hardwood forests at elevations of 260-700 meters. Unfortunately, due to small sample size and the large effort required to fully investigate thermoregulation of Indiana bats in the southern Appalachians, we only were able run correlations with temperature data, and further investigation is needed to make concrete conclusions. However, the new advancements in resolution of landscape cover data and new programs in spatial modeling have enabled us to produce a large scale spatial model for identifying Indiana bat summer roosting habitat within our study area. Our findings have added to our understanding of Indiana bat roosting ecology, particularly in the southern Appalachian Mountains, and will aid land managers in effective management for this federally endangered species.
    • The Status of Crawfish Frogs (lithobates areolatus) in Indiana, and a Tool to Assess Populations

      Engbrecht, Nathan J. (2011-03-16)
      The conservation status of Crawfish Frogs (Lithobates areolatus) in Indiana has changed over the past several decades. Once described as being locally plentiful, declines led to the listing of Crawfish Frogs as a State Endangered Species in 1988. Several records for this species in Indiana are > 50 yrs old and have gone unconfirmed for several decades. However, recent surveys have confirmed the continued presence of Crawfish Frogs in parts of southern Indiana, redefining the perceived range of this species in the state. In an effort to increase survey efficiency in this species, I used automated recording systems and manual call survey techniques to examine the chorusing phenologies of Crawfish Frogs at two sites along the northern extent of their range. Detection probabilities were determined as they related to season and environmental variables and survey duration. I also examined the effect that distance from wetland and position (ground level vs. approximate human ear level) had on call detection in automated recording systems. Correlations between call rates (calls/min) and numbers of male Crawfish Frogs present were used to calculate population estimates at 10 uncensused sites. Detection probabilities were highest when the frogs were breeding and when air temperatures were ≥ 13° C. Initial detection of Crawfish Frogs most frequently occurred during the first five min of sampling. Calls on automated recording units lost resolution as distance from wetland increased, and calls recorded at all distances at human ear level were measurably louder (in decibels) except at the wetland edge. Population estimates at uncensused sites ranged from a low of four to a high of 48. Using call rates and numbers of male frogs present in wetlands, I present a “rapid assessment” tool that can be used to quickly calculate on-site estimates of Crawfish Frogs in field studies.
    • Transgenic Manipulation in Zebra Fish by Combination of Cre-loxP Recombinant System, Tol2 Transposon System, and RNAi Technique

      Bai, Yang (2010-09-21)
      The overall goal of this research is to make precisely controlled transgene constructs to target genes in zebrafish and facilitate their functional studies. Many of the previous transgenic techniques (e.g. morpholino) can only produce transient gene expression or inhibition, which is not good for long-term studies. Also, transgenes that randomly integrate into the chromosomes are typically difficult to control and are poorly regulated. Thus, it would be of great benefit to develop a reversibly controlled transgenic tool to help study gene function. Here, we propose to combine three distinct techniques to generate a stable transgenic tool to facilitate gene functional study in zebrafish, including Cre-loxP recombinant system, Tol2 transposon system, and RNAi technique. The first objective is to combine both Cre-loxP and Tol2 systems to make a convertible and movable transgene construct for insertional inactivation assays in zebrafish. The generated transheterozygous rfp/gfp fragments can be translocated to other loci in the fish genome upon the introduction of Tol2 transposase, which may result in insertional mutations and/or new patterns of interest. The second objective is to make a precisely controlled shRNA transgene construct to inhibit the gfp and/or fli1 expression in zebrafish. Once the target gene is silenced, the zebrafish should show reduced green fluorescence, or some altered phenotypes (in the case of an endogenous blood cell specific target) that can be easily observed. The results showed that we successfully established a stable homozygous pBa/RFP/loxP2/GFP/SBIR transgenic zebrafish line. The conversion from rfp to gfp expression was performed efficiently by heatshock-activated Cre recombinase in vivo. And the subsequent germline transmission of the converted gfp expression was observed in heatshocked pTol-EF1α-RFP-loxP2-GFP transgenic fish outcrosses. The newly generated red/green transheterozygous fish from the cross of non-converted red fish and converted green fish are ready for further insertional mutation assay using Tol2 transgenic fish (Fuji70) or Tol2 mRNA. The construction of the shRNA plasmid was completed and the F0 microinjected zebrafish showed mosaic rfp expression in a few blood vessel cells as well as muscle cells, which indicated the potential success of fli1 driven shGFP transcription in vivo. Future goals include an examination of the efficiency of shGFP anti-gfp expression in pTol-Fli1-EGFP transgenic fish, and Cre recombinase mediated shGFP deletion and target gene expression recovery in vivo.
    • Using MyPlan as a tool for college students in maing their career decisions.

      Lamichhane, Reema (2012-05-21)
      Making a right career choice and preparing accordingly to achieve that career goal is a key to success for every individual. In this study, the researcher evaluated the effectiveness of students using MyPlan, a career assessment tool, to help them make career related decisions. The pretest-posttest analysis showed that MyPlan helped students make an informed career decision to some extent. Chi-squared and correlation analysis of students’ responses before and after taking MyPlan suggested a positive correlation between students taking MyPlan and choosing a college degree major. Also, students agreed strongly when they were asked if MyPlan was helpful in deciding their college major. Collectively, this study derived a strong suggestion that MyPlan is fairly effective and students find it helpful to guide them in making career choices. However, this study was limited as there was a time restraint, subject disparity, and small sample sizes. Therefore, a subsequent study is recommended with a larger sample size and a longer study period. Regardless, this study provided some preliminary data to indicate MyPlan can be an effective tool for college students to guide them in their career decision making process.