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How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

Everitt et al. | Feb 15, 2021

How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

As the world struggled to grapple with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries instated policies to help minimize the spread of the virus among residents. This inadvertently led to a decrease in travel, and in some cases, industrial output, two major sources of pollutants in today's world. Here, the authors investigate whether California's shelter-in-place policy was associated with a measurable decrease in water and air pollution in that state between June and July of 2020, compared to the preceeding five years. Their findings suggest that, by some metrics, air quality improved within certain areas while water quality was relatively unchanged. Overall, these findings suggest that changing human behavior can, indeed, help reduce the level of air pollutants that compromise air quality.

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Computational Structure-Activity Relationship (SAR) of Berberine Analogs in Double-Stranded and G-Quadruplex DNA Binding Reveals Both Position and Target Dependence

Sun et al. | Dec 18, 2020

Computational Structure-Activity Relationship (SAR) of Berberine Analogs in Double-Stranded and G-Quadruplex DNA Binding Reveals Both Position and Target Dependence

Berberine, a natural product alkaloid, and its analogs have a wide range of medicinal properties, including antibacterial and anticancer effects. Here, the authors explored a library of alkyl or aryl berberine analogs to probe binding to double-stranded and G-quadruplex DNA. They determined that the nature of the substituent, the position of the substituent, and the nucleic acid target affect the free energy of binding of berberine analogs to DNA and G-quadruplex DNA, however berberine analogs did not result in net stabilization of G-quadruplex DNA.

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A Novel Approach to Prevent and Restrict Early Stages of Cancer Cell Growth Using a Combination of Moringa and Sesame in a Drosophila Model

Ganesh et al. | Sep 28, 2020

A Novel Approach to Prevent and Restrict Early Stages of Cancer Cell Growth Using a Combination of Moringa and Sesame in a <em>Drosophila</em> Model

Sesame (Sesamum indicum) and moringa (Moringa oleifera) have natural antioxidants that could prevent cancer growth. Previously, this group found that sesame and moringa individually suppress eye tumor grown in the Drosophila melanogaster model. In the present study, combinations of sesame and moringa at different concentrations were included in the D. melanogaster diet. The impact on eye tumor development was assessed at different stages of growth.

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Evaluation of platelet-rich plasma vs. platelet lysate: VEGF and PDGF concentration, stability, and shelf life

Prasad et al. | Mar 30, 2022

Evaluation of platelet-rich plasma vs. platelet lysate: VEGF and PDGF concentration, stability, and shelf life

Cell-free biologicals are a novel method of treating clinical conditions which involve chronic inflammation such as tendonitis and osteoarthritis. This study compared platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in platelet-rich plasma (PRP), activated PRP (aPRP), and platelet lysate (PL). It was hypothesized that PL would contain higher concentrations of growth factors than PRP and that different storage temperatures for PL would diminish cytokine expression. Results demonstrated PL had the highest concentrations of both cytokines, with concentrations slightly diminishing at-80C. aPRP and PRP demonstrated lower concentrations of PDGF and VEGF than PL.

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Cathodal Galvanotaxis: The Effect of Voltage on the distribution of Tetrahymena pyriformis

Zheng et al. | Jun 10, 2019

Cathodal Galvanotaxis: The Effect of Voltage on the distribution of <em>Tetrahymena pyriformis</em>

The surface of the unicellular eukaryote, Tetrahymena pyriformis, is covered with thousands of hair-like cilia. These cilia are very similar to cilia of the human olfactory and respiratory tracts making them model organisms for studying cilia function and pathology. The authors of this study investigated the effect of voltage on T. pyriformis galvanotaxis, the movement towards an electrical stimulus. They observed galvanotaxis towards the cathode at voltages over 4V which plateau, indicating opening of voltage gated-ion channels to trigger movement.

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Combined Progestin-Estrogenic Contraceptive Pills May Promote Growth in Crop-Plants

Saha et al. | Feb 21, 2020

Combined Progestin-Estrogenic Contraceptive Pills May Promote Growth in Crop-Plants

Ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel are commonly present in contraceptive tablets and it is unknown how they affect the environment. In this study, the authors investigate the role that ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel have on the growth of flowering plants. The percentage germination, embryonic and adventitious tissue proliferation, root length, and shoot length were measured in V. radiata and T. aestivum treated with each compound and results demonstrate that ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel can induce growth in both plants at certain concentrations. These findings have important implications as societal use of chemicals increases and more make their way into the environment.

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Assessing and Improving Machine Learning Model Predictions of Polymer Glass Transition Temperatures

Ramprasad et al. | Mar 18, 2020

Assessing and Improving Machine Learning Model Predictions of Polymer Glass Transition Temperatures

In this study, the authors test whether providing a larger dataset of glass transition temperatures (Tg) to train the machine-learning platform Polymer Genome would improve its accuracy. Polymer Genome is a machine learning based data-driven informatics platform for polymer property prediction and Tg is one property needed to design new polymers in silico. They found that training the model with their larger, curated dataset improved the algorithm's Tg, providing valuable improvements to this useful platform.

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