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Dual-Electrospray Mass Spectroscopy for Peptide Analysis

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The research that I have performed since the Spring 2016 semester is based on a study done by Cotham et al. in 2015, where front-end sprayers are used to mix solutions before they enter a mass spectrometer. One of these solutions contains a peptide, which is positively charged, and the other solution contains the reagent 4-formyl-1,3-benzenedisulfonic acid (FBDSA), which is negatively charged. The charges lead to a reaction in microseconds, with spray droplets, before it enters the instrument. Once inside the mass spectrometer a technique called collision induced dissociation (CID) is implemented in order to completely combine the reactant molecules into a single compound called a Shiff base. We plan to attempt this technique on larger peptides, in order to obtain their amino acid sequence, which we prepare through our own microwave digestion techniques. If this technique works with these larger peptides, it will allow for the analysis of peptides at a much more efficient rate. This has applications in many different biological and biochemical fields. Our work could enhance the capabilities of mass spectrometry in daily protein analysis and identification.

Dual-Electrospray Mass Spectroscopy for Peptide Analysis

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The research that I have performed since the Spring 2016 semester is based on a study done by Cotham et al. in 2015, where front-end sprayers are used to mix solutions before they enter a mass spectrometer. One of these solutions contains a peptide, which is positively charged, and the other solution contains the reagent 4-formyl-1,3-benzenedisulfonic acid (FBDSA), which is negatively charged. The charges lead to a reaction in microseconds, with spray droplets, before it enters the instrument. Once inside the mass spectrometer a technique called collision induced dissociation (CID) is implemented in order to completely combine the reactant molecules into a single compound called a Shiff base. We plan to attempt this technique on larger peptides, in order to obtain their amino acid sequence, which we prepare through our own microwave digestion techniques. If this technique works with these larger peptides, it will allow for the analysis of peptides at a much more efficient rate. This has applications in many different biological and biochemical fields. Our work could enhance the capabilities of mass spectrometry in daily protein analysis and identification.

Explorations into Monomer-Dimer Tilings of Planar Regions

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The properties of monomer-dimer tilings of planar regions has been a focused area of study in the mathematical community for many years. Applications include areas such as diatomic molecular bonding and ice-formation. As my research has gone forth, discoveries have been made regarding the number of monomer-dimer tilings in specific regions. We also were able to characterize these larger tilings with polynomials that have not been published by others. Using mathematical programming, I have also found the probability distribution of where monomers will land in a completely random tiling of these square regions. Thorough research has also been done on n by n, 2 by n, and 1 by n regions, and tilings of these regions using “bonding” between what begins as a region of only monomers and turns into one that has both monomers and dimers. Patterns have been confirmed regarding how many steps it takes for these regions to converge or “freeze” and how many dimers are expected to exist after converging. This has been confirmed both through simulations and mathematical analysis.

Explorations into Monomer-Dimer Tilings of Planar Regions

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The properties of monomer-dimer tilings of planar regions has been a focused area of study in the mathematical community for many years. Applications include areas such as diatomic molecular bonding and ice-formation. As my research has gone forth, discoveries have been made regarding the number of monomer-dimer tilings in specific regions. We also were able to characterize these larger tilings with polynomials that have not been published by others. Using mathematical programming, I have also found the probability distribution of where monomers will land in a completely random tiling of these square regions. Thorough research has also been done on n by n, 2 by n, and 1 by n regions, and tilings of these regions using “bonding” between what begins as a region of only monomers and turns into one that has both monomers and dimers. Patterns have been confirmed regarding how many steps it takes for these regions to converge or “freeze” and how many dimers are expected to exist after converging. This has been confirmed both through simulations and mathematical analysis.

Assessing Medical Providers Knowledge of American Diabetes Association (ADA) Clinical Guidelines

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

More than 29 million Americans live with diabetes and type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% of all diagnosed cases. Diabetes complications include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and amputation. Health care providers are expected to stay current with guideline based treatment options to provide optimum care. This project focused on a single medical practice to assess providers’ knowledge of the 2016 American Diabetes Association (ADA) Clinical Guidelines. A 10 item survey outlined key issues including blood pressure goals, immunizations, laboratory monitoring, exercise recommendations and A1c goals among others. Twenty eight out of 35 providers (80% response rate) completed the survey including medical residents, attending physicians, and nurse practitioners. The average was 5 questions answered correctly (range 2-7) and individual questions were analyzed (4-100% correct). We examined differences among types of providers to see if time spent in clinic vs time since initial training had any implications on scores. Nurse practitioners had the greatest number of questions correct (6.25) and are typically in clinic 8 half-days per week. First year medical residents averaged 4 questions correct and spend 1-2 half-days in clinic. Based upon survey results, two clinic adjustments were made. First we had a didactic learning experience with providers to go over survey answers and also alert them to the new 2017 ADA Guidelines. Second we created chart phrases in electronic health records that can be pulled into patient charts to make sure providers are following guideline recommendations.

Assessing Medical Providers Knowledge of American Diabetes Association (ADA) Clinical Guidelines

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

More than 29 million Americans live with diabetes and type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% of all diagnosed cases. Diabetes complications include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and amputation. Health care providers are expected to stay current with guideline based treatment options to provide optimum care. This project focused on a single medical practice to assess providers’ knowledge of the 2016 American Diabetes Association (ADA) Clinical Guidelines. A 10 item survey outlined key issues including blood pressure goals, immunizations, laboratory monitoring, exercise recommendations and A1c goals among others. Twenty eight out of 35 providers (80% response rate) completed the survey including medical residents, attending physicians, and nurse practitioners. The average was 5 questions answered correctly (range 2-7) and individual questions were analyzed (4-100% correct). We examined differences among types of providers to see if time spent in clinic vs time since initial training had any implications on scores. Nurse practitioners had the greatest number of questions correct (6.25) and are typically in clinic 8 half-days per week. First year medical residents averaged 4 questions correct and spend 1-2 half-days in clinic. Based upon survey results, two clinic adjustments were made. First we had a didactic learning experience with providers to go over survey answers and also alert them to the new 2017 ADA Guidelines. Second we created chart phrases in electronic health records that can be pulled into patient charts to make sure providers are following guideline recommendations.

The Dinwoody Bison Jump: Communal Hunting At 11,000 Feet in the Wind River Mountains

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The Dinwoody Bison Jump (48FR7682) is located at 11,000 ft. overlooking Dinwoody Canyon in the Wind River Mountains. This is extraordinarily high compared to the fewer than 30 other documented bison jumps and pounds recorded in SHPO files. Thirty years ago, the conventional wisdom was that prehistoric Native Americans (excluding a few sheep eater Indians) avoided the high country. Research since that time has documented extensive use of Wyoming’s alpine regions by hunter gatherers. The Dinwoody Jump suggests another previously unrecognized adaptation at elevation-that of communal bison hunting. A 600 acre series of campsites dating between Folsom and Early Contact is adjacent to the jump. This paper presents the results of the Central Wyoming College Field School 2016 field work and lab analysis of the paleoecology and cultural resources of the Dinwoody site complex.

The Dinwoody Bison Jump: Communal Hunting At 11,000 Feet in the Wind River Mountains

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The Dinwoody Bison Jump (48FR7682) is located at 11,000 ft. overlooking Dinwoody Canyon in the Wind River Mountains. This is extraordinarily high compared to the fewer than 30 other documented bison jumps and pounds recorded in SHPO files. Thirty years ago, the conventional wisdom was that prehistoric Native Americans (excluding a few sheep eater Indians) avoided the high country. Research since that time has documented extensive use of Wyoming’s alpine regions by hunter gatherers. The Dinwoody Jump suggests another previously unrecognized adaptation at elevation-that of communal bison hunting. A 600 acre series of campsites dating between Folsom and Early Contact is adjacent to the jump. This paper presents the results of the Central Wyoming College Field School 2016 field work and lab analysis of the paleoecology and cultural resources of the Dinwoody site complex.

Remotely Automated Observations of Transiting Exoplanets

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The goal of this research is to perform remotely operated automated observations of transiting exoplanet candidates cataloged by the KELT (Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope) Collaboration. We have been using University of Wyoming’s Red Buttes Observatory which has a 0.6-meter telescope. We have been using a software program designed in Python to help conduct observations with no human interaction. The program only requires the details of the event to be entered and it automatically conducts the nightly observations including the startup and shutdown procedures of the observatory. Being a part of the KELT collaboration, we have been granted access to an extensive database of potential exoplanet candidates. We are also able to compare our data with previous observations by other members of the collaboration and help expand the search for exoplanets.

Remotely Automated Observations of Transiting Exoplanets

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The goal of this research is to perform remotely operated automated observations of transiting exoplanet candidates cataloged by the KELT (Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope) Collaboration. We have been using University of Wyoming’s Red Buttes Observatory which has a 0.6-meter telescope. We have been using a software program designed in Python to help conduct observations with no human interaction. The program only requires the details of the event to be entered and it automatically conducts the nightly observations including the startup and shutdown procedures of the observatory. Being a part of the KELT collaboration, we have been granted access to an extensive database of potential exoplanet candidates. We are also able to compare our data with previous observations by other members of the collaboration and help expand the search for exoplanets.

Clinical Correlates of Health Literacy in People with Serious Mental Illness

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

People with serious mental illness (SMI) experience health disparities (Hert et al., 2011). Low health literacy could be an important factor for health outcomes in the SMI population (Krishan et al., 2012). The association between demographic and clinical variables was examined in people with SMI as possible predictors of health literacy. Participants were recruited by paper and electronic advertisements to assess health behaviors in adults with serious mental illness and/or a diagnosis of type II diabetes. Participants completed a battery of tests including The TOFHLA to assess health literacy, the PANSS to assess positive and negative psychiatric symptoms, and the DRS to assess cognition. Data for adults with serious mental illness only were analyzed using SPSS version 23. Participants (N = 56) were predominantly Caucasian (n = 48; 85.7 %), female (n = 34; 61.8 %), and lived alone (n = 26; 47.3%) or with someone else (n = 26; 47.3%). Overall, the sample had high total health literacy (M = 84.54; SD = 10.973). Total DRS scores correlated with total health literacy (r = .428; p = .001,), as did living situation (r = .270; p = .047). The PANSS positive scores weakly correlated with reading health literacy (r = -.262; p = .051). The results vary by TOFHLA subscale. Using a multiple linear regression model, cognition was found to be the strongest predictor of health literacy in people with SMI (F(2,51)= 2.498, p<.092, R2 = .089; F(3,48)= 5.466, p<.003, R2 = .232). Understanding the relationship between cognition and health literacy in people with SMI could help providers improve health disparities that this population experiences.

Hydrogel-based Janus Structures for Asymmetrical Aster Nucleation

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Microtubule networks control the spatial and temporal dynamics of a host of cellular processes including motility and division. These networks are nucleated at centrosomes anchored to the nuclear membrane. The distribution and density of centrosomes are therefore hypothesized to influence cellular function. This talk describes the production of immobilized and mobile hydrogel structures to serve as sites for the nucleation of microtubule asters. The surfaces of these structures have been asymmetrically decorated with beads which serve as surrogates for artificial centrosomes through a combination of microfabrication technologies. To create mobile-phase Janus particles, aspiration-driven microfluidic devices were used to precisely meter and spatially locate fluids and beads within droplets, which were crosslinked to form hydrogel microspheres. Oxygen inhibition of the free radical polymerization reaction was exploited to expose fluorescent beads upon a single hemisphere of the particle surface. We hypothesize that in future work these droplets may be used to organize microtubule asters at the droplet surfaces. This experimental platform holds broad utility for fundamental studies that will elucidate mechanisms by which microtubule asters regulate cell motility, cell organization, and cell division.

Growing Plants with the Power of Robotany

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The goal of this project was to create a digital system to monitor the growth of a plant and regulate the environmental variables to optimize growing conditions. An Arduino system was used to read light, temperature, humidity, and soil moisture data, and to control a light source and a water source. A camera attached to the Arduino took pictures of the plant, which the server program analyzed to determine the health of the plant. It considered factors such as height of the plant, color, number of leaves, and size of leaves. The data was sent via Wi-Fi connection to a desktop restful server program, which stored and analyzed the data using C.A.R.T. decision trees. Each plant received its own decision tree that decided when to adjust watering and lighting schedule information and send it back to the Arduino. An Android application pulled plant growth, health and sensor data from the server to display to the user. In addition, the application allowed the user to manually alter server variables and to score training data for the decision trees. Using these components, we successfully created a comprehensive and semi-autonomous system capable of plant health and growing environment management.

Variation in Raptor Abundance Between Urban and Rural Habitats

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Raptors are iconic apex predators of prairies and grasslands in Wyoming. Due to extensive habitat modification by urbanization, these landscape changes may lead to both threats and advantages, such as human-derived food sources, for raptors. This study explores (1) whether raptor density differs in urban and rural habitats, and (2) if the difference is due to increased food abundance in human-modified habitats. In summer of 2016, distance sampling and roadkill surveys, a proxy for prey density, were used to examine these questions. Raptors in prairie, grassland, and riparian habitats around Casper, WY were studied. Results indicate a lower abundance of raptors in human-dominated environments, with 1.9 per km2 in rural habitats versus 0.7 per km2 in urban areas. An AIC comparison of separate urban and rural models versus a combined model strongly supported modeling the two habitats separately. Significant differences between roadkill in different habitats existed, with a rural of average 1 per km and 0.4 per km in urban zones, suggesting rural prey density may be higher. While raptors and roadkill were positively correlated, this correlation was suggested abundance of both is greater in rural areas. This indicates that even in a state with a small human footprint, urbanization may be negatively affecting important apex predators.

Rate Predictive Process Control

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Model predictive control has been used in chemical engineering processes since the 1980s. The chemical process industry still uses model predictive control; however, it is expensive, time-consuming to install and calibrate, computationally demanding, and must be retuned when process conditions change. The chemical process industry has long been looking for a simple, robust, inexpensive replacement for model predictive control. Allan Kern, a 1981 University of Wyoming alumnus, has recently patented a new process control system that may eliminate the problems of model predictive controllers. Mr. Kern developed the rate predictive controller (RPC) to address the challenges with model predictive control. Instead of using highly empirical models, RPC simply adjusts the controller output based on the rate of change of the controlled variable. The goal of this project was to evaluate the theoretical performance of RPC. Excel, MATLAB, and Simulink were used to simulate RPC. Experiments were run in these simulation environments to test the performance of RPC under different conditions. Additionally, the effects of changing key RPC parameters, such as process response time and controller band size, were examined. These experiments yielded varying results. While theoretically instability could be achieved, by following Mr. Kern’s guidelines RPC was found to be operationally stable. The simulation experiments were also able to answer questions customers of Mr. Kern have had about RPC, such as the effect of disturbances and higher order transfer functions.

Rate Predictive Process Control

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Model predictive control has been used in chemical engineering processes since the 1980s. The chemical process industry still uses model predictive control; however, it is expensive, time-consuming to install and calibrate, computationally demanding, and must be retuned when process conditions change. The chemical process industry has long been looking for a simple, robust, inexpensive replacement for model predictive control. Allan Kern, a 1981 University of Wyoming alumnus, has recently patented a new process control system that may eliminate the problems of model predictive controllers. Mr. Kern developed the rate predictive controller (RPC) to address the challenges with model predictive control. Instead of using highly empirical models, RPC simply adjusts the controller output based on the rate of change of the controlled variable. The goal of this project was to evaluate the theoretical performance of RPC. Excel, MATLAB, and Simulink were used to simulate RPC. Experiments were run in these simulation environments to test the performance of RPC under different conditions. Additionally, the effects of changing key RPC parameters, such as process response time and controller band size, were examined. These experiments yielded varying results. While theoretically instability could be achieved, by following Mr. Kern’s guidelines RPC was found to be operationally stable. The simulation experiments were also able to answer questions customers of Mr. Kern have had about RPC, such as the effect of disturbances and higher order transfer functions.

Wirelessly Controlled Audio Visualizer

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Music has been around for ages, and has been to the enjoyment of many civilizations throughout time. More recently, innovation has created modern visualizers that have lights illuminating colorful and patterned responses to audio, depending on the frequency and amplitude of the signal. This trend has become common on personal computers, at music concerts, and DJ’s who want light and music props. The goal of this project is to create a wirelessly controlled LED visualizer that will allow multiple audio inputs, and in response illuminate a square of LEDs directly corresponding to the audio signal. The user will be able to switch the audio input signal, what response the LEDs will give to an audio signal, and adjust the brightness of the LEDs. The project will be lightweight and portable to allow easy travel, and will run mostly on batteries. The visualizer project has a learning aspect as well, where there will be an available USB port on the boards allowing the user to view the loaded program code, and also to modify or add to it. This allows the owner to visually see how programing works, and presents a learning opportunity with quick and fun results.

GeoChemical Sourcing of LaPrele Mammoth Kill Ochre

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Red ochre pigment, or the mineral hematite, is commonly recovered from Early Paleoindian sites in the American west. Although it is clear that early peoples in the New World were transporting pigments from place to place, the inability to date to determine ochre provenance has limited our understanding of the natural sources of ochre that were in use, as well as the distances over which ochre was transported. This work is a pilot study in sourcing of ochre from the La Prele Mammoth site, a 12,900 year old human occupation in Converse County, Wyoming. Excavations at this mammoth kill site have revealed a large area of hematite-stained sediments, and over 1,500 individual nodules of ochre were mapped and collected. As a first attempt to determine the provenance of the ochre from this site, I collected comparative geologic hematite samples from two well-known iron deposits in Wyoming, the Powars II site at the Sunrise Iron Mine near Hartville and the historic Rawlins red paint mine. I characterized each source chemically and mineralogically using ICP-OES and powder XRD, respectively. I found that the two sources can be differentiated and that the excavated ochre was found to most closely match that of the Powars II site, which occurs approximately 85 km down the valley of the Platte to the southeast. This study suggests different sources of red ochre are geochemically distinguishable and that provenance studies of ocher may become commonplace in Wyoming archaeology.

On the Art of Teaching Medicine – Galen as Physician, Philosopher, and Professor

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Galen of Pergamum was a physician working in the emperor Marcus Aurelius’s court in Rome from 166 AD and continued working under Aurelius’s successors until his death in approximately 200 AD. His work regarding anatomy and physiology was prolific and well ahead of its time; his medical treatises were still regularly taught and followed up until the eighteenth century. Galen’s teachings sparked a return to the Hippocratic medical philosophies, though these were substantially altered and expanded upon within Galen’s career. In addition to his expansive research into the anatomy and physiology of living organisms, he wrote often about the philosophy and ethics of medicine and surgery, and wrote several teaching treatises, likely for his friends, colleagues, and students. These teaching treatises are a starting point to begin to understand the intersection of medical science and philosophy. It can be asserted, indeed, that Galen’s teaching sparked the transition between medicine as an art and philosophy and medicine as a science.

On the Art of Teaching Medicine – Galen as Physician, Philosopher, and Professor

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Galen of Pergamum was a physician working in the emperor Marcus Aurelius’s court in Rome from 166 AD and continued working under Aurelius’s successors until his death in approximately 200 AD. His work regarding anatomy and physiology was prolific and well ahead of its time; his medical treatises were still regularly taught and followed up until the eighteenth century. Galen’s teachings sparked a return to the Hippocratic medical philosophies, though these were substantially altered and expanded upon within Galen’s career. In addition to his expansive research into the anatomy and physiology of living organisms, he wrote often about the philosophy and ethics of medicine and surgery, and wrote several teaching treatises, likely for his friends, colleagues, and students. These teaching treatises are a starting point to begin to understand the intersection of medical science and philosophy. It can be asserted, indeed, that Galen’s teaching sparked the transition between medicine as an art and philosophy and medicine as a science.

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