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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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Conversion of Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts in a Tumor Microenvironment: An in vitro Study

Ramesh et al. | Feb 18, 2020

Conversion of Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts in a Tumor Microenvironment: An <em>in vitro</em> Study

Mesenchymal stem cells(MSCs) play a role in tumor formation by differentiating into cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) which enable metastasis of tumors. The process of conversion of MSCs into CAFs is not clear. In this study, authors tested the hypothesis that cancers cells secrete soluble factors that induce differentiation by culturing bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in media conditioned by a breast cancer cell line.

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Can the Growth Mindset Encourage Girls to Pursue “Male” Careers?

Lateef et al. | Oct 03, 2021

Can the Growth Mindset Encourage Girls to Pursue “Male” Careers?

Despite major advances in gender equality, men still far outnumber women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions. The purpose of this project was to determine whether mindset could affect a student’s future career choices and whether this effect differed based on gender. When looking within the gender groups, 86% of females who had a growth mindset were likely to consider a “male” career, whereas only 16% of females with fixed mindset would likely to consider a “male” career. Especially for girls, cultivating a growth mindset may be a great strategy to address the problem of fewer girls picking STEM careers.

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Investigating KNOX Gene Expression in Aquilegia Petal Spur Development

Hossain et al. | Feb 03, 2014

Investigating KNOX Gene Expression in Aquilegia Petal Spur Development

Plants, and all other multi-cellular organisms, develop through the coordinated action of many sets of genes. The authors here investigate the genes, in a class named KNOX, potentially responsible for organizing a certain part of Aquilegia (columbine) flowers called petal spurs. Through the technique Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), they find that certain KNOX genes are expressed non-uniformly in petal spurs, suggesting that they may be involved, perhaps in a cell-specific manner. This research will help guide future efforts toward understanding how many beautiful flowers develop their unique shapes.

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Comparative screening of dose-dependent and strain-specific antimicrobial efficacy of berberine against a representative library of broad-spectrum antibiotics

Sun et al. | May 10, 2021

Comparative screening of dose-dependent and strain-specific antimicrobial efficacy of berberine against a representative library of broad-spectrum antibiotics

We hypothesize that berberine has broad-spectrum antibacterial properties, along with potency that is comparable to current broad-spectrum antibiotics that are commercially available. Here, we screened berberine against four strains of bacteria and evaluated its antimicrobial activity against five broad-spectrum antibiotics from different classes to better quantify berberine’s antibacterial activity and compare its efficacy as an antibacterial agent to the broad-spectrum antibiotics. Our results indicated that berberine had strain-selective cytotoxic effects and was significantly less potent than most of the broad-spectrum antibiotics

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Allelopathic Effects of Kudzu (Pueraria montana) on Seed Germination and Their Potential Use As a Natural Herbicide

Mathur et al. | Dec 19, 2013

Allelopathic Effects of Kudzu (<em>Pueraria montana</em>) on Seed Germination and Their Potential Use As a Natural Herbicide

Plants in the wild compete with each other for nutrients and sunlight. Kudzu is a weed that is thought to secrete compounds that inhibit the growth of other plants. Here the authors find that certain parts of kudzu plants can block the germination of clover and dandelion seeds. These experiments may lead to a weed killer that is safe and naturally derived.

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The external presence of running water influences the root growth of pea plants (Phaselous vulgaris)

Shu et al. | Nov 10, 2020

The external presence of running water influences the root growth of pea plants (Phaselous vulgaris)

Each year, invasive tree roots cause large amounts of damage to underground pipes. While this is usually due to leaks and cracks, tree roots can also invade pipes that are structurally sound. We are interested in investigating whether plant roots have an affinity towards flowing water, measured through mass, even when the running water is not in direct contact with soil. We tested this by creating a choice chamber with water running under one end and no stimulus on the other end. Overall, the masses of the roots growing towards flowing water were greater than the masses of the roots growing towards the end with no stimulus, showing that plant roots did have an affinity towards flowing water.

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The Effect of Caffeine on the Regeneration of Brown Planaria (Dugesia tigrina)

Lazorik et al. | May 10, 2019

The Effect of Caffeine on the Regeneration of Brown Planaria (<em>Dugesia tigrina</em>)

The degeneration of nerve cells in the brain can lead to pathologies such as Parkinson’s disease. It has been suggested that neurons in humans may regenerate. In this study, the effect of different doses of caffeine on regeneration was explored in the planeria model. Caffeine has been shown to enhance dopamine production, and dopamine is found in high concentrations in regenerating planeria tissues. Higher doses of caffeine accelerated planeria regeneration following decapitation, indicating a potential role for caffeine as a treatment to stimulate regeneration.

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Temperatures of 20°C Produce Increased Net Primary Production in Chlorella sp.

Biddinger et al. | Feb 25, 2020

Temperatures of 20°C Produce Increased Net Primary Production in <em>Chlorella sp.</em>

Chlorella sp. are unicellular green algae that use photosynthesis to reduce carbon dioxide into glucose. In this study, authors sought to determine the temperature that Chlorella sp. is maximally efficient at photosynthesis, and therefore removing the most carbon dioxide from the system. This activity could be harnessed to naturally remove carbon dioxide from the environment, fighting the effects of climate change.

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