By Candice Vieira, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’17
After researching Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) treatment methods for a UWP 104F assignment, I learned that current FXTAS therapeutics is limited to symptomatic treatment. Most articles emphasized the need to better characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying FXTAS development to develop drugs specifically for FXTAS. Therefore, I questioned what researchers currently know regarding molecular events that lead to FXTAS signs and symptoms and how this knowledge can aid in drug therapies. This motivated me to prepare a literary review, intended to educate and inform practicing clinicians, especially neurologists and psychologists, about recent findings and the future directions for FXTAS research. For this assignment, we were expected to synthesize recent articles and provide relevant information for clinical practice. Specifically, I wanted clinicians to gain a better understanding of a primary focus within FXTAS research—molecular triggering events—and importantly, how this research relates to clinical treatment of FXTAS.
Continue reading Molecular Mechanisms Leading to FXTAS Development and Therapeutic Perspectives
Independent Project Findings
By Harsh Sharma, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, ’13
“I wrote this paper to share my independent project takeaways with everyone who is interested in, or a part of, the healthcare field. This project taught me a lot about what we can do to help our patients get the most out of the clinic they go to. As you gain experiences in the medical field, think about the services your organization offers and how you can use your skills to enhance those services to the next level!”
Continue reading “Let’s Take a Deep Breath”: Managing Hypertension by Bridging the Clinic-Home Healthcare Gap
By David Ivanov, Biochemistry ’15
Oral vaccines are known to be a convenient and effective method for treatment or prevention of diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms. The difficulty of developing such vaccines is due to the often inhospitable environment of the stomach and intestinal tract because of low pH, or acidity, as well as enzymes that can digest or destroy biological molecules. Using a virus-like particle to deliver the vaccine is an advantageous method for getting around these and other barriers in the host organism.
A virus-like particle, or VLP, is a biological particle that resembles a virus, but contains no genetic information and thus cannot infect host cells. VLP’s can be formed by inserting and expressing just the genes for creating the viral capsid, which is a shell made up of protein subunits that protects the infectious genetic information in wild-type, or normal, viruses. The expressed capsid proteins can then self-assemble into the VLP. The capsid also has domains, or structural areas, that are responsible for recognizing suitable host cells to infect and inserting the viral genome.
Continue reading Engineering Hepatitis Virus-like Particles for Oral Vaccine Delivery
By Marisa Sanchez, Genetics ’15
Most people know that poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking as an adult can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and Type II diabetes. However, research over the past couple of decades has shown that risk for CVD and type II diabetes could begin as early as prenatally through adverse exposures, such as overnutrition and placental insufficiency. Some mechanisms involved in determining risk for CVD and Type II diabetes are oxidative stress, inflammation, lipotoxicity, and epigenetics. Continue reading Prenatal Exposures and Risk for Chronic Diseases Later in Life