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Specific Transcription Factors Distinguish Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Fibroblasts

Park et al. | Aug 16, 2019

Specific Transcription Factors Distinguish Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Fibroblasts

Stem cells are at the forefront of research in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Two essential properties of stem cells are self-renewal and potency, having the ability to specialize into different types of cells. Here, Park and Jeong took advantage of previously identified stem cell transcription factors associated with potency to differentiate umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (US-MSCs) from morphologically similar fibroblasts. Western blot analysis of the transcription factors Klf4, Nanog, and Sox2 revealed their expression was unique to US-MSCs providing insight for future methods of differentiating between these cell lines.

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Antibacterial Effects of Copper Surfaces

Mulukutla et al. | May 19, 2020

Antibacterial Effects of Copper Surfaces

This study examined the ability of copper and copper alloy surfaces to inhibit bacterial growth, which may be help prevent healthcare-associated infections. The authors exposed two non-pathogenic strains of bacteria to different metal plates for varying degrees of time and measured bacterial growth.

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Nintendo Da Vinci: A Novel Control System to Improve Performance in Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Al-Akash et al. | Oct 26, 2019

Nintendo Da Vinci: A Novel Control System to Improve Performance in Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Complications of robotic-assisted surgery are on the rise, partly due to surgeons not receiving proper training. Al-Akash and Al-Akash hypothesized Nintendo JoyCon controls would improve surgical performance compared to the FDA-approved Da Vinci Surgical System with two user groups (doctor and gamer). Their results show that implementing a Nintendo JoyCon control system is associated with improved surgical performance and learning rate compared to the Da Vinci Surgical System.

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Giving Teens a Voice: Sources of Stress for High School Students

Corson et al. | Sep 09, 2019

Giving Teens a Voice: Sources of Stress for High School Students

The authors investigate the negative effects stress has on teen mental and physical health. Through a survey, they give Virginia teens a voice in revising the Health and Physical Education curriculum to include a standards of learning (SOL). Notably they identify factors contributing to stress levels including homework level, amount of free and sleep time, parental pressure and family encouragement.

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Efficacy of Rotten and Fresh Fruit Extracts as the Photosensitive Dye for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Jayasankar et al. | Jan 16, 2019

Efficacy of Rotten and Fresh Fruit Extracts as the Photosensitive Dye for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) use dye as the photoactive material, which capture the incoming photon of light and use the energy to excite electrons. Research in DSSCs has centered around improving the efficacy of photosensitive dyes. A fruit's color is defined by a unique set of molecules, known as a pigment profile, which changes as a fruit progresses from ripe to rotten. This project investigates the use of fresh and rotten fruit extracts as the photoactive dye in a DSSC.

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Upregulation of the Ribosomal Pathway as a Potential Blood-Based Genetic Biomarker for Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and PTSD

Ravi et al. | Aug 22, 2018

Upregulation of the Ribosomal Pathway as a Potential  Blood-Based Genetic Biomarker for Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and PTSD

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are two of the fastest growing comorbid diseases in the world. Using publicly available datasets from the National Institute for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), Ravi and Lee conducted a differential gene expression analysis using 184 blood samples from either control individuals or individuals with comorbid MDD and PTSD. As a result, the authors identified 253 highly differentially-expressed genes, with enrichment for proteins in the gene ontology group 'Ribosomal Pathway'. These genes may be used as blood-based biomarkers for susceptibility to MDD or PTSD, and to tailor treatments within a personalized medicine regime.

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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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Herbal Extracts Alter Amyloid Beta Levels in SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells

Xu et al. | Feb 25, 2020

Herbal Extracts Alter Amyloid Beta Levels in SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a type of dementia that affects more than 5.5 million Americans, and there are no approved treatments that can delay the advancement of the disease. In this work, Xu and Mitchell test the effects of various herbal extracts (bugleweed, hops, sassafras, and white camphor) on Aβ1-40 peptide levels in human neuroblastoma cells. Their results suggest that bugleweed may have the potential to reduce Aβ1-40 levels through its anti-inflammatory properties.

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