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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Big Data: Computational Biology Opens A New Window On The World's Challenges For Colby Scientists, Kate Carlisle Oct 2017

Big Data: Computational Biology Opens A New Window On The World's Challenges For Colby Scientists, Kate Carlisle

Colby Magazine

"What makes us 'us' and not a plant? Not a bacteria, or a virus," asks Andrea Tilden, the J. Warren Merrill Associate Professor of Biology and a genomics expert. "Any one genome has six thousand novels worth of information. Computational biology is the tool we use to read them."


Collaboration: Professor And Former Protégé Are Finding Answers To Nature's Questions, Gerry Boyle Oct 2017

Collaboration: Professor And Former Protégé Are Finding Answers To Nature's Questions, Gerry Boyle

Colby Magazine

Biologist Dave Angelini and collaborator Will Simmons '17J have published findings of their three-year study of the effect of pesticides on bumblebees and hope the results will have the scientific community looking for new solutions to the problem.


Science Phobic?: Professor Frank Fekete Can Fix That - And, Perhaps, Some Global Problems, Abukar Adan Oct 2017

Science Phobic?: Professor Frank Fekete Can Fix That - And, Perhaps, Some Global Problems, Abukar Adan

Colby Magazine

"It shouldn't be a surprise. Of any subdiscipline in biology, microbiology is the most relevant to my students' lives because everyone is concerned about his or her health." - Frank Fekete, professor of biology


Protein Kinase Activity Toward Taabf1 In Imbibing Grains, Taylor P. Enrico Jan 2017

Protein Kinase Activity Toward Taabf1 In Imbibing Grains, Taylor P. Enrico

Honors Theses

The hormones gibberellin and abscisic acid are essential for plant responses to changing environmental conditions, and can send opposing signals. In wheat, the transcription factor TaABF1 plays an important role at the intersection of a gibberellin-induced/abscisic acid-suppressed pathway. When gibberellin dominates, the GA-induced gene, Amy32b, is transcribed. When abscisic acid is dominant, TaABF1 is active and it downregulates GA-induction of Amy32b, while promoting ABA-induced transcription of the gene HVA1. The activity of TaABF1 is thought to be regulated by post-translational phosphorylation at key serine residues. In this study, to determine TaABF1 phosphorylation by wheat kinases, we purified recombinant histidine ...


Sweating The Small Stuff: Linking Plankton To Climate Change, Brian Kim '18 Makes Conncetions, Stephen Collins Sep 2016

Sweating The Small Stuff: Linking Plankton To Climate Change, Brian Kim '18 Makes Conncetions, Stephen Collins

Colby Magazine

It takes an expansive mind to connect microscopic marine copepods (certain crustacean plankton) unwittingly chomping on floating microplastics with a bigger picture: the planet’s carbon pump and global climate change. But that’s what Brian Kim ’18 decided to investigate during Jan Plan, working with Bigelow Lab Senior Research Scientist David Fields.


Demographic Survey Of The Sohisika (Schizolaena Tampoketsana), James Lucas Apr 2015

Demographic Survey Of The Sohisika (Schizolaena Tampoketsana), James Lucas

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

The sohisika (Schizolaena tampoketsana; family Sarcolaenaceae) is a little-known, highly threatened angiosperm endemic to the forest fragments and savanna of the Hauts Plateaux region at Ankafobe Commune, Madagascar. Through targeted surveillance of sohisika at Ankafobe, this study aimed primarily to characterize the demography of the sohisika via GPS mapping of latitude, longitude, and altitude, through dendrometric measures such as height and diameter at breast height (DBH), and through calculation of distribution patterns via Morisitas index. Secondary goals aimed to describe the ecology of the sohisika within its environment and hoped to identify patterns between age class, aspect, habitat, and surrounding ...


Regeneration After Destruction: An Investigation About Deforestation For Fruit Boxes In The Provinces Of Tungurahua And Pastaza, Ecuador, Julia Rogers Apr 2015

Regeneration After Destruction: An Investigation About Deforestation For Fruit Boxes In The Provinces Of Tungurahua And Pastaza, Ecuador, Julia Rogers

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

The extraction of wood for use as boxes for fruit in the region between Baos and Puyo in the provinces of Tungurahua and Pastaza in Ecuador is a large source of deforestation in the area. The purpose of the study is to examine the effect of this deforestation on the insects, birds, and seedlings to better understand the effects of small scale deforestation in the cloud forest of Ecuador. Six different sites were studied; 2 sites were cut within 2014, 1 site in 2012, 1 site is a forest of 4 to 8 years, and 2 sites are mature forest ...


Analysis Of Current Clinical Antiviral Treatment Approaches And Medications And Related Suggestions For Future Research, Daniel Sunderland May 2014

Analysis Of Current Clinical Antiviral Treatment Approaches And Medications And Related Suggestions For Future Research, Daniel Sunderland

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

Viral pathogens present researchers, physicians, and public health workers with the challenges of developing new treatments in an every-changing landscape of antiviral drug resistance. This paper outlines the basis of current knowledge in virology, how that knowledge is applied when developing treatments such as integrase and protease inhibitors, neuraminidase inhibitors, nucleotide analogs, and others, and considers the rates of resistance of the target viruses to those treatments. There is also some consideration of immunomodulatory treatments and the potential of viral vectors as a means of understanding different immune responses to viruses and the direct effects that viruses can have on ...


Nutrient Availability And Species Evenness Influence Productivity During Early Stages Of A Tropical Forest Restoration, Emma Rosenfield, Lauren Bizzari, Julia Rogers May 2014

Nutrient Availability And Species Evenness Influence Productivity During Early Stages Of A Tropical Forest Restoration, Emma Rosenfield, Lauren Bizzari, Julia Rogers

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

Forest restorations aim to maximize the number of species and the productivity at the community level. In a tropical rainforest restoration, often limited number of species are available from local growers; so manipulating the number of individuals of each species (the evenness) might best achieve the goals of restoration. Planting equal numbers of individuals of each species may allow for the most complementary use of soil nutrients; however fertilizer may change this dynamic. Moreover, in a community where there is one dominant species, the productivity of the community may depend upon the identity of that dominant species. We asked whether ...


Concussions In Varsity Athletes, Lily Cabour May 2014

Concussions In Varsity Athletes, Lily Cabour

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

This research project will analyze the HIT App (Hit Injury Tracker) data from the 2013-14 school year. The HIT App is an ongoing research project for the Colby-based nonprofit, Maine Concussion Management Initiative (MCMI). MCMI is dedicated to improving the safety of Maines youth by increasing awareness and education on concussion management. MCMI is a pioneer in concussion research and education outreach in the state of Maine, and is beginning to expand its impact across New England. Through the HIT App data, we hope to reveal trends in concussion injury for student athletes (high school and college level) based on ...


Identification Of Water Kefir Microbial Composition And Rapidly Growing Yeast, Wei Ma May 2014

Identification Of Water Kefir Microbial Composition And Rapidly Growing Yeast, Wei Ma

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

Products of microbial fermentation such as probiotic yogurt have been found to confer health benefits, such as inhibiting fungal and bacterial growth, prevention of oral, mammary neoplasia and multidrug-resistant myeloid leukemia. Water kefir, or tibicos, is a type of symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria that shows potential to be used as preventative and chemotherapeutic agent against cancer. Here, we study water kefir in terms of its microbial composition to determine the species of microorganism responsible for producing the proposed antineoplastic extracellular polymeric substance, using both culture-dependent and independent techniques. Selective and non-selective media were used to promote the growth ...


Avian Species Of The Chacabuco Valley, Walker Nordin, Sydney Morison May 2014

Avian Species Of The Chacabuco Valley, Walker Nordin, Sydney Morison

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

The focus of this poster is the avian ecology of the Chacabuco Valley in the Aysen Region of Chilean Patagonia. Information on various bird species and habitat types was obtained via structured bird surveys near lakes throughout the valley, with the aim of correlating certain bird species and behaviors with specific habitat types. The results showed the most common bird species of woodland, shrubland, and lake habitats, as well as associated behaviors. Some bird behaviors were analyzed in greater depth, in order to speculate on certain species habitat requirements. The findings of this project will provide baseline reference information for ...


Psychrobacter Arcticus Cold Shock Protein Expression In Escherichia Coli Increases Cold Resistance, Daniel Sunderland May 2014

Psychrobacter Arcticus Cold Shock Protein Expression In Escherichia Coli Increases Cold Resistance, Daniel Sunderland

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

Psychrophilic (cold-loving) microorganisms live in some of the most inhospitable environments in the world. The newly-sequenced genome of the psychrophile Psychrobacter arcticus presents the opportunity to study the molecular mechanisms by which it is possible for this organism to thrive in extremely cold environments such as the permafrost of Antarctica. The cold presents challenges such as decreased membrane fluidity, slower reaction rates, and conformational changes in proteins and nucleic acids. Putative genes for cold-shock proteins (csps) were identified within the sequenced genome that could play an important role in facilitating the psychrophilic lifestyle. This study sought to analyze the function ...


Identifying The Role Of Bacterio-Opsin Associated Protein Gene In Bacteriorhodopsin Production In The Halophilic Archaeon Halobacterium Salinarum, Tarini S. Hardikar May 2014

Identifying The Role Of Bacterio-Opsin Associated Protein Gene In Bacteriorhodopsin Production In The Halophilic Archaeon Halobacterium Salinarum, Tarini S. Hardikar

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

The halophilic archaeon Halobacterium salinarum survives in low-oxygen conditions by producing a light-driven proton pump, bacteriorhodopsin (BR). BR is formed by a retinal cofactor covalently bound to the protein bacterioopsin (BO). In reduced oxygen conditions, H. salinarum synthesizes BR, which requires production of both BO and the retinal cofactor. The gene that encodes for BO is called bacterio-opsin protein gene (bop). In several organisms, it has been observed that another gene, bacterio-opsin associated protein gene (bap) is located next to the bop gene. However, the function of bap is unknown. To identify whether the bap gene has any role in ...


Mamb And Mamm: Genes Involved In Magnetotaxis, Rachel Bolender May 2014

Mamb And Mamm: Genes Involved In Magnetotaxis, Rachel Bolender

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) are a group of bacteria that synthesize magnetosomes, magnetic crystals of magnetite (Fe304) or greigite (FeS4), which allow MTB to travel along the earths geomagnetic fields. In addition, MTB have been shown to be promising agents for bioremediation through their ability to absorb heavy metals, such as gold. Little is known of the genetic elements that allow for the biosynthesis of magnetic particles in MTB. In this study, genes MamB and MamM, genes known to be involved in magnetosome formation but whose functions are not known, were studied using the magnetotactic bacteria Magnetospirillum magneticum. Genomic DNA was ...


Listeriosis: A Case Study, Tara Tischio May 2014

Listeriosis: A Case Study, Tara Tischio

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

In large animal veterinary medicine, a minor infection in one animal can easily cripple the success of a farm. Listeria, a bacterial infection caused by the ingestion of contaminated silage, can spread rapidly throughout a farm inflicting serious damage to the central nervous system and killing the infected animals within weeks or even days. By following the case study of a pregnant, listeria-positive cow, this study aims to provide an overview of this disease in order to further educate the public on the human implications.


Genetic Diversity And Gene Flow Among Populations Of Witheringia Solanacea, Crystiana Tsujiura May 2014

Genetic Diversity And Gene Flow Among Populations Of Witheringia Solanacea, Crystiana Tsujiura

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

To evaluate fitness consequences of population structure in the Costa Rican plant Witheringia solanacea, we have genotyped individuals from different populations of Witheringia solanacea to examine inbreeding within populations and gene flow between populations at different altitudes. We predict that plants at high elevations will have a higher frequency of inbreeding because high elevation populations tend to consist of fewer plants and there tend to be fewer pollinators at higher altitudes.


Purification Of Gst::Taabf1 Fusion Protein In Order To Assess Its Phosphorylation By Endosperm Proteins, Jessica Moore May 2014

Purification Of Gst::Taabf1 Fusion Protein In Order To Assess Its Phosphorylation By Endosperm Proteins, Jessica Moore

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

Transcription factor TaABF1, a member of the ABA response element binding factor family, has been shown to have an important role in the signaling pathways of gibberellin (GA) and abscisic acid (ABA) in cereal grains. TaABF1 has also been found phosphorylated in vivo in aleurone cells and is possibly regulated by phosphatases. In order to investigate whether TaABF1 can be phosphorylated by proteins in wheat grains and which regions of the protein are phosphorylated, the GST::TaABF1 fusion protein was purified by a glutathione affinity column and a phosphorylation assay with wheat endosperm proteins was performed. Then, the possibly phosphorylated ...


Does Fertilization Influence Herbivory During Tropical Forest Restoration?, Emma Rosenfield, Arianna Porter, Julia Rogers, Lauren Bizzari May 2014

Does Fertilization Influence Herbivory During Tropical Forest Restoration?, Emma Rosenfield, Arianna Porter, Julia Rogers, Lauren Bizzari

CLAS: Colby Liberal Arts Symposium

Tropical deforestation is occurring at an alarming rate throughout our world today. It is critical that we actively try to restore these landscapes because rainforests provide us with important resources and services. However, it can be difficult to set appropriate goals for restoration. Under which conditions is a landscape the healthiest? For example, fertilizer is often used to increase growth and survivorship of tree seedlings; however, adding fertilizer may alter other aspects of the community, such as herbivory. In the context of a tropical forest restoration experiment, we asked 1) does fertilization influence herbivory; 2) does fertilization alter leaf tissue ...


Prenatal Choline Supplementation And Mk-801 Toxicity: Protecting Memory And Preventing Neurodegeneration, Chelsea Nickerson Jan 2013

Prenatal Choline Supplementation And Mk-801 Toxicity: Protecting Memory And Preventing Neurodegeneration, Chelsea Nickerson

Honors Theses

Choline is essential to the development and function of the central nervous system. Supplemental choline is neuroprotective against a variety of insults, including neurotoxins like dizocilpine (MK-801). MK-801 is an NMDA receptor antagonist that is frequently used in rodent models of psychological disorders. At low doses, it causes cognitive impairments, and at higher doses it induces motor deficits, anhedonia, and neuronal degeneration. The primary goals of the present study were to investigate whether prenatal choline supplementation protects against the cognitive impairments, motor deficits, and neuropathologies that are precipitated by MK-801 administration in adulthood. Adult male Sprague Dawley rats were fed ...


Investigating The Role Of Epibiotic Bacteria In Defense Against Chytridiomycosis In The Green Frog, Lithobates Clamitans, Sarah Nalven Jan 2013

Investigating The Role Of Epibiotic Bacteria In Defense Against Chytridiomycosis In The Green Frog, Lithobates Clamitans, Sarah Nalven

Honors Theses

Amphibian populations have been declining for several decades, in part due to the emerging fungal skin disease, chytridiomycosis, caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Chytridiomycosis has caused extinctions and extirpations in many parts of the world, but its influence varies across species, populations, and individuals. The Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans), which inhabits the eastern half of the United States, seems capable of sustaining Bd infections without experiencing die-offs. It is possible that the Green Frog's epibiotic bacteria are contributing to its defense against Bd as the epibiotic bacteria of several amphibian species are known to play a ...


The Development And Morphology Of Zebrafish After Embryonic Ethanol Exposure, Frances Lee Jan 2012

The Development And Morphology Of Zebrafish After Embryonic Ethanol Exposure, Frances Lee

Honors Theses

Maternal consumption of alcohol may subject the fetus to fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FAS or FASD). FAS/D is a public health problem, and affected children are defined by varying degrees of irreversible mental retardation, physical defects, behavioral issues, and vision problems from prenatal alcohol exposure (Riley et al. 2011). Recent studies on FAS have looked towards animal models, such as zebrafish, Danio rerio, that exhibit homologous physical and behavioral effects of alcohol (Bilotta et al. 2004). I exposed zebrafish embryos to low doses of ethanol (0.5% v/v or 1% v/v) in either ...


The Impact Of Tricaine Methanesulfonate, 2-Phenoxyethanol, And Carvone-Methyl Salicylate On The Innate Immune Response Of Zebrafish (Danio Rerio), Charles R. Wulff Jan 2011

The Impact Of Tricaine Methanesulfonate, 2-Phenoxyethanol, And Carvone-Methyl Salicylate On The Innate Immune Response Of Zebrafish (Danio Rerio), Charles R. Wulff

Honors Theses

Anesthesia plays a vital role in the maintenance of aquaculture species, where it is used to minimize stress during complex handling tasks such as transport, assessment, and harvesting. However, anesthetics have been shown to suppress the innate immune response, which could impact immunity and increase risk of infection. Tricaine methanesulfonate (MS-222) and 2-Phenoxyethanol (2-PE) represent two of the most commonly used anesthetics in aquaculture, with R-(+)-carvone, in the form of carvone-methyl salicylate (CMS) has recently been proposed as an alternative anesthetic for food fish. These three anesthetics were used to assess the influence of anesthetics on the immune system ...


The Role Of Taabf1 In Abscisic Acid-Mediated Suppression Of 𝒶-Amylase Gene Expression In Cereal Grains, Lauren J. Harris Jan 2010

The Role Of Taabf1 In Abscisic Acid-Mediated Suppression Of 𝒶-Amylase Gene Expression In Cereal Grains, Lauren J. Harris

Honors Theses

The phytohormones gibberellin (GA) and abscisic acid (ABA) regulate important developments events in germinating seeds. Specifically, GA induces the expression of hyrolase genes, like the α-amylase gene Amy32b, which mobilizes starch reserves to be used by the embryo, and ABA suppresses this induction. Recent advancements identified ABA and GA receptors and key components in the signaling pathways, however, the mechanism of crosstalk between the hormones remains largely unknown. To further elucidate the mechanism of ABA suppression of GA-induced genes, we focused on the transcription factor TaABF1, a member of the ABA response element binding factor family. TaABF1 has been shown ...


A Watershed Analysis Of Salmon Lake And Mcgrath Pond: Implications For Water Quality And Land Use Management, Colby Environmental Assessment Team, Colby College, Problems In Environmental Science Course (Biology 493), Colby College Jan 2009

A Watershed Analysis Of Salmon Lake And Mcgrath Pond: Implications For Water Quality And Land Use Management, Colby Environmental Assessment Team, Colby College, Problems In Environmental Science Course (Biology 493), Colby College

Colby College Watershed Study: Salmon Lake and McGrath Pond (2009, 1993)

In the summer and fall of 2009, the Colby Environmental Assessment Team (CEAT) studied the water quality of Salmon Lake and McGrath Pond, located in the Belgrade Lakes Region of Maine. The physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water quality were measured and analyzed to evaluate the current health of these lakes. Water quality data collected during the summer and fall of 2009 were compared with data from previous years to study the historic water quality trends. Land use patterns in the Salmon/McGrath watershed were also examined to investigate their impact on the lake water quality. The water quality ...


The Effect Of Glutamate On Neurite Outgrowth In Fiddler Crab (Uca Pugilator) X-Organ Cells, Ruth B. Langton Jan 2009

The Effect Of Glutamate On Neurite Outgrowth In Fiddler Crab (Uca Pugilator) X-Organ Cells, Ruth B. Langton

Honors Theses

Glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. It is of particular interest because of its supposed role in the processes of learning and memory, and also because of its potential toxic effects that have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Although glutamate is necessary for normal cell functioning, high levels of glutamate receptor activation can result in cell death, a phenomenon known as excitotoxicity. It has been suggested that glutamate also plays an important role in the insect and crustacean nervous systems, allowing for the examination of excitotoxicity in ...


A Watershed Analysis Of Pattee Pond: Implications For Water Quality And Land Use Management, Problems In Environmental Science Course (Biology 493), Colby College, Colby Environmental Assessment Team, Colby College Jan 2008

A Watershed Analysis Of Pattee Pond: Implications For Water Quality And Land Use Management, Problems In Environmental Science Course (Biology 493), Colby College, Colby Environmental Assessment Team, Colby College

Colby College Watershed Study: Pattee Pond (2008, 1992)

The Colby Environmental Assessment Team (CEAT) investigated the impact of land use patterns on the water quality of Pattee Pond in Winslow, Maine, during the summer and fall of 2008. Physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of water quality were analyzed to evaluate the current health of the lake. Data collected were compared with previous studies conducted by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and CEAT to examine changes in water quality and land use over time. Trends in Pattee Pond water quality suggest an improvement since the 1970s. However, the lake is still experiencing algal blooms resulting from phosphorus ...


Microhabitat Selection By The Tortoiseshell Limpet, Tectura Testudinalis (Müller), In Tide Pools On The Mid-Maine Coast, Emily R. Lyczkowski Jan 2008

Microhabitat Selection By The Tortoiseshell Limpet, Tectura Testudinalis (Müller), In Tide Pools On The Mid-Maine Coast, Emily R. Lyczkowski

Honors Theses

Microhabitat selection of the limpet Tectura testudinalis, an important grazer along the rocky Maine coast is examined using both mensurative and manipulative experiments. T. testudinalis substrate selection is essential to its survival in the unpredictable and harsh regime of the intertidal zone. At three sites studied in the Gulf of Maine, T. testudinalis selectively inhabits tidal pools and vertically oriented substrates. Both of these microhabitats reduce the degree of environmental stress (desiccation, extreme temperature, and hypersaline conditions) and predation experienced by individuals. Differences among sites are common, indicating the importance of varying environmental factors in regulating and influencing habitat selection ...


Movement Patterns And Feeding Behavior Of The Limpet Tectura Testudinalis (Müller) Along The Mid-Maine Coast, Joshua Lord Jan 2008

Movement Patterns And Feeding Behavior Of The Limpet Tectura Testudinalis (Müller) Along The Mid-Maine Coast, Joshua Lord

Honors Theses

Tectura testudinalis is a limpet that lives in the mid-intertidal zone along the coast of Maine and grazes on a variety of encrusting algae. A previous study asserted that T. testudinalis preferred to feed and rest on the encrusting alga Clathromorphum circumscriptum and that this species of limpet displayed homing behavior. However, I show that T. testudinalis does not home or return to any specific substrate while resting. Conclusive evidence was found for nocturnal movement. I show that C. circumscriptum was the preferred food source for this limpet, closely followed by Hildenbrandia rubra, another encrusting alga. Field and lab experiments ...


Cytotoxicity Of Diepoxybutane And Epichlorohydrin In Relation To Stages Of The Cell Cycle, Megan L. Watts Jan 2008

Cytotoxicity Of Diepoxybutane And Epichlorohydrin In Relation To Stages Of The Cell Cycle, Megan L. Watts

Honors Theses

Work conducted in the Millard Biochemistry Research Laboratory examines the dual nature of molecules as carcinogens and anti-tumor agents through the molecular mechanisms of duplex DNA damage by bifunctional alkylating agents. Diepoxybutane (DEB) and epichlorohydrin (ECH) are polar molecules that form covalent DNA interstrand lesions by cross-linking the N7 position of deoxyguanosine residues. A recent experiment indicated that ECH preferentially targets nuclear DNA over mitochondrial DNA, whereas DEB shows similar rates of lesion formation for both loci. It was concluded that preferential targeting of nuclear DNA results from relatively poor uptake of ECH across the mitochondrial membrane. The objective of ...