Browse the oral and visual presentations from day 2 of the 2022 UWill Discover Conference.

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1- Effect of “Work From Home: model on SE

Anahita Sedighikasmaei, Computer Sciences
Vikram Sharma, Computer Sciences
Misbah Imtiyaz Sayyed, Computer Sciences

This poster focuses on the pros and cons of working from home for both employees and the companies. Then suggests some practical solutions handle and reduce the negative side effects of remote work. In addition, interviews with two experts in the industry are shared, which shows how they have experienced it first-hand. In the end, it concluded that companies should support both remote and in-person working styles for their employees to enhance their productivity.

A Numerical Investigation of Sidebands in High Harmonic Spectra

Nathan G. Drouillard BSc, University of Windsor
T.J. Hammond PhD, University of Windsor

A Numerical Investigation of Sidebands in High Harmonic Spectra

When an atom is subjected to coherent electromagnetic radiation, it is possible for its electrons to be excited by the electric field that is inherent to this radiation. A commonly used source for coherent electromagnetic radiation is a laser, which delivers an electric field that oscillates in time. High harmonic generation (HHG) is the process of applying a strong laser field to a material, such that one of its electrons is accelerated away from the atom, only to be driven back toward it by the oscillating laser field. As the electron is repeatedly accelerated away from and back to this ion, it emits photons that are of odd-integer harmonics of the driving field. In other words, light is emitted at frequencies that are odd integer multiples of the laser frequency. When a second, weaker field is applied to the system, the trajectory of the electron is perturbed at its maximum distance from the ion. This process causes a signal to occur in the harmonic spectrum that is characteristic of the perturbing field energy. This signal is referred to as sidebands due to their shape and the way they appear on either side of the even harmonics. These sidebands have been shown to contain valuable information regarding the optical free-induction decay of complex biomolecules, which can be used to spectroscopically identify these molecules.

Numerical simulations of this physical process were performed using the split-step Fourier method of solving the time-dependent Schrödinger equation. The results of these simulations provide insights on how to optimize the signal of the sidebands in future laboratory experiments.

An Integrative Review of School-Based Interventions for Addressing Childhood Obesity

Marcel Seereeram Mr, University of Windsor
Torri N. Trojand Ms, University of Windsor
Lindsay McMillan Ms, University of Windsor
Kian Johnson Ms, University of Windsor
Madeline Amicarelli Ms, University of Windsor

An Integrative Review of School-Based Interventions for Addressing Childhood Obesity

Introduction:

According to Statistics Canada (2016), 1 in 7 children in Canada suffer from obesity. The terms “obesity” and “overweight” are described as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that is harmful to one's health. Children suffering from obesity have reported a higher incidence of psychosocial distress in comparison to children of healthy weight.

Methods:

Due to these alarming rates in the surge of childhood obesity, an intervention needs to be addressed and implemented. There have been multiple studies and systematic reviews on the topic, although little has been done to implement successful strategies. We conducted an integrative review of both quantitative and qualitative studies to better understand what has previously been known on this topic and what the next steps are to combat childhood obesity. Whittemore and Knafl’s strategies were utilized to create our integrative review to ensure rigour by utilizing their framework (Whittemore & Knafl, 2005).

Results:

Our initial analysis indicates that implementing health promotion strategies such as increased physical activity, healthy eating in the classroom by using a teach the teacher method and actively involving parents in the intervention group will likely result in long term compliance in reduction of BMI. Thus decreasing mental health illnesses correlated with elevated BMI in youth.

Conclusions:

This review will be used to educate about the prevalence of childhood obesity and the importance of the implementation of health promotion strategies.

Key words: childhood obesity, education, nutrition, chronic disease, prevention

Applying CRISPR/Cas9 and fluorescent tools to dissect the role of Tuberin in cell cycle regulation

Ali Nadi, University of Windsor
Jackie Fong MSc, University of Windsor
Elizabeth Fidalgo Da Silva PhD, University of Windsor
Lisa Porter PhD, University of Windsor

How cells regulate their growth and division involves a tightly controlled integration of many mechanisms. In cells, Tuberin (gene – TSC2) is a protein in the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) that modulates cellular growth, size, and proliferation. Mutations in the proteins forming the TSC can cause Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by multisystem pathologies that is often associated with benign hamartomas in the brain, kidney, lungs and skin. The focus of my research is to clarify the role of Tuberin in the regulation of cell size and proliferation at the G2/M cell cycle checkpoint. During late G2, Tuberin retains Cyclin B1 (gene – CCNB1), a mitotic cyclin, in the cytoplasm thereby prolonging mitotic onset. We constructed six TSC2 mutants that harbour clinically relevant mutations which are known to destabilize the TSC. Interestingly, these mutations fall within the Tuberin Cyclin B1 binding domain. Whether or not these mutations disrupt the regulation of the G2/M checkpoint is a key question of this project. This is studied by over-expressing the mutants with GFP tagged Cyclin B1 in Tuberin null cells. The resultant phenotypes are analyzed by flow cytometry, immunoprecipitation, and immunofluorescence. To aid in the temporal study of the cell cycle, I aim to validate successful CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knock-in of an iRFP tag within the TSC2 gene of HEK293 cells. This new cell line will be a powerful tool to dissect the roles of Tuberin in regulating cellular growth and division and can provide deep understanding of proliferative diseases like TSC and cancers.

Battery Thermal Model Identification and Surface Temperature Prediction

Pradeep Kumar, University of Windsor

Over the past 30 years, a lot of advancement and progress have been received by Lithium-ion batteries. Due to this advancement, the use of Li-ion batteries increased in electric vehicles (EVs). Li-ion batteries are highly sensitive to operating conditions and temperature is one of them. The performance of Li-ion batteries is highly affected by temperature such as low temperature decreases the power output and high temperature degrades the health of batteries. To overcome these issues, proper thermal management of batteries is an important task. This work presents a thermal-electrical equivalent circuit model (TECM) for the prediction of surface temperature of batteries. In order to accurately study the thermal behavior of batteries using TECM model, the precise estimation of model parameters is an important task. This study shows the three methods for the estimation of model thermal parameters i.e. unconstrained least square (ULS), constrained least square (CLS), and weighted least square (WLS). The estimation performances of these algorithms are first shown using computer simulations at different values of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in order to consider the effect of different noise levels. WLS methods outperform the order two approaches in the estimation of thermal parameters. Later, these estimated parameters are used for the future prediction of surface temperature of real Li-ion batteries. This predictive approach is helpful in reliable thermal management of batteries. This advanced knowledge can be used to alter the thermal management system's settings, such as the increase/decrease of coolant flow rate, resulting in accurate temperature control.

Designing of Next Generation Motor Drive Control for Electric Vehicle Application

Mahwish M. Khan, University of Windsor
Junxi Cai, University of Windsor
Eshaan Ghosh, University of Windsor
Narayan C. Kar, University of Windsor

CHARGE Labs, University of Windsor

In order to achieve a mission of zero emission, as most automotive industries around the world are pledging to, the research and production of efficient and eco-friendly electrified vehicles (EVs) is a necessary goal to pursue. They are of high interest to governments and research facilities across the world as they have higher efficiency levels and are more environmentally friendly than current gasoline vehicles. At the core of electric vehicle application, electric motor drives act an important role to direct the motor to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy and provide electrical control of the processes. Therefore, it is required for researchers to make the motor drive more energy-efficient and have bi-directional power flow capability to ensure the improvement of motor performance and be flexible regarding controllability. The goal of the author is to investigate the development of a better motor-drive to achieve a control that provides a superior control of the traction motor. This requires improving the existing flux weakening motor control that is used for traction application. The improved control is programmed and hard coded into a Digital signal processor which is embedded in the control drive board. In a conventional inverter, this drive unit controls the gate drivers which in turn controls the IGBTs, there by enabling variation in operating performance of the motor. Currently, there is a lack of unified program that can operate any kind of traction motor like permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM) or induction motors(IM). This is leading automotive industries to invest a lot of resources in research and development in this field of work so that the future vehicles can be swapped with any motor as per requirement. The authors are currently working on developing this motor control and also reducing the complexity of the code and real-time operation on the microcontroller. This will be implemented in future on existing and new-generation inverters to test the control on various motor and inverter setups.

Determination of NKR-P1B Receptor Expression and Its Function in Liver-Resident NK Cells

Sarah Abu-Draz, University of Windsor
Munir Rahim, University of Windsor

Background: The liver harbours a large population of immune cells, which is selectively enriched in natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells represent a lymphoid population with a potent cytolytic activity, which play critical roles in immune defense against invading pathogens. Two distinct NK cell subsets, liver-resident NK (lrNK) cells and conventional NK (cNK) cells, are present in the liver. NK cell functions are regulated by an array of activating and inhibitory receptors. NKR-P1B is one of the earliest expressed NK cell receptors that inhibits NK cell functions upon binding to its cognate C-type related ligand, Clr-b.

Purpose: Determine expression of NKR-P1B receptor in liver NK cells, and its role in the development and function of liver-resident NK cells.

Experimental Design: We used a multiparametric flow cytometry technique to analyze the phenotype, distribution, and homeostatic differences between lrNK cells and cNK cells in the livers from wild-type (WT) and knockout NKR-P1B (KO) mice.

Results: Preliminary results suggest that, WT lrNK cells exhibit a more mature phenotype compared to NKR-P1B KO lrNK cells. There were no significant differences in the distribution of NK cells in the livers from WT and NKR-P1B KO mice. As compared to cNK cells, lrNK cells displayed higher expression of granzyme B, an enzyme required for cytotoxic activity of NK cells.

Conclusion: The findings from this work will provide new insights about the expression and function of NKR-P1B receptor in lrNK cells and a better understanding of the distinguishing behavior of lrNK cells compared to cNK cells.

Determining the Dependency of Spy1 based on Rb Status

Tiana V. Visconti, University of Windsor
Bre-Anne Fifield, University of Windsor
Lisa A. Porter, University of Windsor

Determining the Dependency of Spy1 based on Rb Status

Visconti, T., Philbin, N, Fifield, B, Porter L.A.

  1. University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario. N9B 3P4

Porter Lab, Department of Integrative Biology/Biomedical Sciences

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide and the most common cancer among women. Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer with many subtypes based on gene expression profiles. There are currently no targeted treatments for TNBC due to its molecular characteristics, urging the discovery of new therapeutic targets. Potential therapeutic avenues are the cell cycle and its mediators which play an important role in cancer formation and progression. Spy1, a cyclin-like protein, promotes cell proliferation through the G1/S and G2/M checkpoints. Spy1 promotes proliferation even in the presence of DNA damage, overriding checkpoints and increasing cancer susceptibility. While Spy1 has been found to be elevated in breast cancer, its unique binding structure makes for an ideal candidate for cell cycle inhibition therapy. The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein (Rb) is known to regulate the DNA damage response system and is key in regulating the cell cycle. However, studies have shown that Rb is often mutated in TNBC inducing deregulated cell cycle progression potentially leading to tumor development. For some breast cancer subtypes the presence or absence of Rb (Rb status) can dictate response to treatment by cell cycle inhibitor drugs. Using in vitroTNBC models (MDA-MB-231 & Bt549 cell lines), this study aims to determine if Spy1 can override checkpoints independently of Rb status, and if elevated levels of Spy1 alter this response. These results could provide further guidance in developing cell cycle inhibition targeted therapies and potentially better TNBC patient outcomes.

Does Neck Strength in Male and Female Youth Soccer Players Affect Head Velocity During Goal-Directed Heading: A Proposal

Brook-Lyn N. Phelan, University of Windsor
Claudia Town, University of Windsor
Dave M. Andrews, University of Windsor
Kate Balkwill, University of Windsor

Introduction: Head impact research in soccer (e.g., during heading) has increased recently, with the intent to reduce the risk of play-related injuries such as concussions. Low neck strength and head kinematics (e.g., velocity) in players have been proposed as risk factors for concussion1. However, previous research has primarily focused on collegiate athletes1, despite the possible increased risk for youth players due to crucial neurodevelopment occurring in this group2. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine neck strength differences between male and female youth soccer players, and to quantify the relationship between heading velocities and neck strength.

Methods: Participants will include male and female youth soccer players (11 - 13 years old). Neck strength will be quantified while supine during lateral flexion, cervical flexion, and extension using a prone push test with a hand-held dynamometer. Participants will also complete five headers in the lab in each of three directions: balls tossed to them from their right, left, and in front. Three retroreflective markers on each participant’s head will be recorded using five GoPro Hero 9 cameras. ProAnalyst (Xcitex) motion capture analysis software will be used to determine head velocities. Pearson correlations will be completed to assess the strength of the relationship between neck strength and head velocities, and between sex and head velocities.

Expected results: Youth with lower neck strength will have increased head velocities during purposeful heading. Moreover, females will have lower neck strength, and therefore, higher head velocities in comparison to their male counterparts.

Keywords: youth soccer, neck strength, head velocities, sex differences

References:

  1. Dezman, Z. D., Ledet, E. H., & Kerr, H. A. (2013). Neck strength imbalance correlates with increased head acceleration in soccer heading. Sports Health, 5(4), 320-326.
  1. Patel, D. R., Shivdasani, V., & Baker, R. J. (2005). Management of sport-related concussion in young athletes. Sports Medicine, 35(8), 671-84.

Dysregulated Sphingolipid Expression in Diabetic Myopathy

Jacob M. Ouellette, University of Windsor
Michael D. Mallender, University of Windsor
Dylan J. Hian-Cheong, University of Windsor
Stephen J. Trumble, Baylor University
Thomas J. Hawke, McMaster University
Matthew P. Krause, University of Windsor

Background: Features of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) include impaired skeletal muscle regenerative capacity and accumulation of muscle lipids; however, the influence of lipids remains unknown in regenerating skeletal muscle with T1DM. This study assessed the lipid response in regenerating skeletal muscle following injury.

Methods: Wild-type (WT) and T1DM (Akita) mice (n=5) received cardiotoxin (CTX) injections into the left tibialis anterior which were harvested at 5-days post-injury, cryosectioned, and stained to visualize lipids. To determine sphingolipid and enzyme concentrations, WT (n=22) and Akita (n=21) mice received CTX injections into the left quadriceps and gastrocnemius-plantaris-soleus complex which were harvested at 1-, 3-, 5-, and 7-days post-injury (n=4-6). Sphingolipids and enzyme levels were analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and Western Blotting, respectively.

Results: Akita mice displayed increased lipid deposition in injured muscle as compared to uninjured muscle and both conditions of WT muscle. Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) was elevated in injured muscle as compared to uninjured muscle at 5 days post-injury; however, this response was blunted in Akita muscle. Sphingosine lyase (SL) expression was elevated in Akita injured muscle with no changes in sphingosine kinase or ERK1/2 expression. Ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P) was elevated in Akita muscle at 5 days post-injury; however, no differences were detected for ceramide kinase (CerK).

Conclusion: These data indicate that at early time points, skeletal muscle regeneration is impaired in T1DM due to accelerated S1P breakdown and accumulation of C1P. The increase in C1P, despite the absence of CerK, change suggests an alternate pathway of ceramide phosphorylation in regenerating muscle.

Educational Outcomes of Program Effectiveness of a Postsecondary Concurrent Education (Pre-Service Teaching) Student-Mentoring Program

Holly Mariconda
Clayton Smith
Geri Salinitri, University of Windsor
Kendra Hart
Deborah Laze

The submission is attached in the Digital Files section.

Inexpensive Pressure Transducer for Monitoring Waves in Coastal Systems

Benjamin R. Chittle, University of Windsor

In order to learn more about the natural world, there is a growing need to conduct research of increasing scale and/or resolution. During field work, this necessitates the use of high accuracy equipment, which can be expensive and is often lost or damaged during deployment. Consequently, there is growing interest in “do it yourself” (DIY) equipment that is affordable and easy to build without sacrificing performance. The DIY Pressure Transducer is one such piece of equipment which provides coastal researchers with a more affordable alternative for monitoring water level fluctuations such as wave height and period. The DIY device built for this study consisted of a simplified Arduino microcontroller and a waterproof housing made primarily from polyvinyl chloride. In contrast to commercial pressure transducers which can cost thousands of dollars, a DIY transducer can be assembled for under $500. To determine accuracy, DIY transducers were tested against a commercial instrument. In both still and turbulent water, it was found that pressure readings from each DIY device varied by some constant offset from the commercial instrument due to imprecise factory calibration of the MS5803-14BA sensor module used. After accurately recording the offset for each DIY device, the data was corrected and agreeable to the commercial transducer bystudy, future works are planned to deploy dense sensor arrays to monitor the impact of waves on coastal erosion at scales previously not possible.

Investigating the Effect of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Drivers' Behavior: A Survey Study

Erika Lopetrone, University of Windsor, Ontario
Francesco Biondi, University of Windsor

In this study, we look at the effects that the COVID-19 lockdown measures enacted in March 2020 had on driving patterns. We hypothesize that the greater portability of remote working associated with the drastic decline in personal mobility, accelerated distracted and aggressive driving. We conducted an online survey where 103 respondents reported on their own and other drivers’ behavior. While respondents agreed to drive less frequently, they also indicated that they were not prone to more aggressive or distracted driving. When asked to report on other motorists’ behavior, however, they indicated to have witnessed more aggressive and distracted drivers on the road after March 2020 relative to the time pre-pandemic. We reconcile these findings with the literature on self-monitoring and self-enhancement bias, and use the studies on the effect of comparable large-scale, disruptive events on traffic patterns to discuss our hypothesis on how driving patterns may change post-pandemic.

Islamic Religiosity and Subjective Well-Being in the West: Meta-Analytic Evidence of Consistent Protections across the Diverse Muslim Diasporas

Sara Ghannam Ms., University of Windsor
Kevin M. Gorey Dr., University of Windsor

Please see the uploaded file.

Quantifying the Effects of Various Football Shoulder Pads on Reach Distance and Player Perception of Comfort and Fit: A Proposal

Claudia M. Town, University of Windsor
David M. Andrews Dr., University of Windsor
Ron Jadischke Dr., Xenith

Sports protective equipment has been used for decades to reduce the risk of player injuries. As a result, the protective capabilities of such equipment have been studied extensively1. However, the literature on the comfort and fit of protective equipment and how these constructs influence performance is limited, despite evidence suggesting that improper fit can have negative effects on player safety2. Research on the relationship between sports equipment and performance can also be valuable to manufacturers from a design standpoint3. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to quantify the differences in reach distances of football players while wearing different models of shoulder pads. Player perceptions of shoulder pad comfort and fit will also be evaluated.

Players will complete a standardized reach distance protocol while wearing retroreflective markers on their hands. The protocol will include repeated shoulder flexion, extension, abduction, horizontal flexion, and horizontal extension trials for four shoulder pad conditions (three models of shoulder pads, one without). The movements will be recorded using five GoPro Hero 9 cameras and analyzed using motion analysis software. Following each condition, a survey, including questions on shoulder pad comfort, fit, breathability, weight, and restrictiveness, will be completed.

It is expected there will be differences in reach distances between the football shoulder pad conditions. Moreover, there will be differences in comfort, breathability, and restrictiveness between the shoulder pad conditions.

  1. Norman R. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 1983; 11: 232-74.
  2. Oja B, Bass J. J Appl Sport Manag. 2016; 8: 26-45.
  3. Yu A, Yick K, Ng A, Yip J. Appl Ergon. 2019; 75: 17-26.

Right Hear - Accessibility in Academia

Tachelle Ze-Tien Ting, University of Windsor
Noor Al-Azary, University of Windsor

Noor consulted with a student born with a visual impairment. He used an assistive device in the past to convert text-to-speech for textbook readings but stopped due to many barriers. The voice was unclear due to the intonation and speech patterns of the synthetic voice, it was tedious to use, and the assistive device read irrelevant information on each page, such as watermarks, which interfered with the flow in relevant information. He also noted after sustained periods of listening to an assistive device, the synthetic voice becomes grating on the ears. When asked if he could choose between a synthetic voice or human narration, he chose a human narration as preferable. As the popularity and accessibility of audiobooks continues to increase studies have shown information retention and comprehension between visual and audio learning are equal. Unfortunately, not all books and scientific articles exist in audio-format and we have been slow to take up the need for such formats on campus. In addition to benefitting individuals with visual impairment, audio books can benefit any individuals with reading and comprehension impairments. Studies show audiobooks used in tandem with reading materials enhance reading fluency in individuals with reading disabilities but also in students with no impairment. Therefore, expanding information sources to include audio file formats would increase accessibility for visually and/or reading impaired students, as well as any students who wish to use this service.

Our service provides a human-voiced audio file for academic sources such as textbooks, syllabi, and journal articles.

Sitting ducks: Strategies to increase recruitment in common eiders (Somateria mollissima) facing polar bear (Ursus maritimus) predation

Anik A. Martin, University of Windsor
Andrew F. Barnas, University of Windsor
Christina A. D. Semeniuk Dr., University of Windsor

The Canadian Arctic is warming at an increasing rate due to natural and anthropogenic drivers of climate change. In certain northern regions, these climatic shifts have led to earlier sea ice breakup and later freeze-up patterns which limits the time available for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) to hunt their preferred marine-mammal prey. Consequently, bears experience a reduction in body condition, and as they are forced ashore earlier in the hunting season, are now compensating by consuming terrestrial resources such as common eider duck eggs (Somateria mollissima). This interaction can have serious negative consequences on the recruitment of common eiders as they have not yet adapted their nesting behaviours and anti-predator strategies to be effective against polar bears. Here, we use agent-based models in NetLogo 6.0.2 to simulate various common eider nesting behaviours that could reduce egg predation by polar bears. We examine how nesting distributions (clustered vs. random), lay dates (early vs. late), flight initiation distances, and flushing style (cryptic vs. conspicuous) influence nest failure due to polar bears. Data on individual eider nest success from each reproductive strategy will be analyzed to determine if behaviours exist that result in eider-agents capable of successfully avoiding nest predation. We hypothesize that eiders nesting in a random distribution with early lay dates that initiate flight when the polar bear is far using a cryptic flush decision will be the most successful. Our results will help highlight the adaptive capacity of eiders facing polar bear predation by identifying strategies that increase nest success.

Spy1 and the Long-Term Effects of Childbearing on the Mammary Gland

Almas Khan, University of Windsor
Lisa Porter, University of Windsor
Bre Anne Fifield, University of Windsor
Isabelle Hinch, University of Windsor

The Role of Spy1 in Exacerbating the Long-Term Effects of Parity on the Mammary Gland

Khan, A.1, Fifield, B.1, Porter L.A.1.

1. University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario. N9B 3P4.

Porter Lab, Department of Biomedical Sciences

Age is a significant variable in cancer development, and approximately 1/3 of breast cancer cases occur in patients older than 70. Another emerging risk factor is parity, or childbearing, which may be linked to cellular changes that affect a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. These changes are thought to result from the mammary gland not reverting to normal after lactation and involution - a developmental remodeling process where the milk secreting cells are cleared and replaced with adipocytes after weaning. Aberrant expression of the cyclin-like protein Spy1 has been shown to stimulate precocious development, resulting in disrupted morphology and oncogenesis within the mammary gland. Preliminary data suggests that the mammary glands of mice overexpressing Spy1 do not fully regress following lactation and involution, which may predispose them to breast cancer. We hypothesize that the overexpression of Spy1 exacerbates the long-term effects of parity on mammary gland morphology. To investigate this, we performed hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining as well as immunohistochemistry (IHC) on paraffin embedded sections, and whole mount staining of MMTV-Spy1 mice, a transgenic mouse model that overexpresses Spy1 within the mammary gland. We then compared the mammary gland morphology of parous MMTV-Spy1 mice to nulliparous MMTV-Spy1 mice, parous control FVB mice, and nulliparous control FVB mice. This research begins to improve our understanding of Spy1’s role in regulating proliferation and apoptosis, contributes to our overall knowledge of breast cancer dynamics, and further solidifies Spy1 as an important target for treatment.

Synthesis of Selective CDK2/SPY1 Inhibitors employing Stereochemical Control - An invaluable tool in an Organic Chemist’s belt

Samra Khan, University of Windsor
John J. Hayward Dr., University of Windsor
Daniel Meister, University of Windsor
Aiyireti Dilinaer, University of Windsor
John F. Trant Dr., University of Windsor

The cell cycle of a healthy eukaryotic cell depends on the efficiency of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDKs) checkmarks, to ensure normal cell proliferation. CDK2 is responsible for progression of cells into the S and M phases, and it is critical to the abnormal growth processes of cancer cells. Examination of different kinds of human cancers, for their vulnerability to CDK2 inhibition, has revealed CDK2 as a good therapeutic target. In the past two decades, various CDK2 inhibitors have been designed but have stumbled on the roadblock of selectivity issue, since CDK2 shares 74 and 68% sequence identity and active sites with its family members’ CDK3 and CDK1, respectively. Moreover, it’s not CDK2 alone that needs to be targeted but the activated complex it forms with Spy1, a protein that can activate CDK2 in the same way as cyclin but is highly upregulated in cancer cells. After extensive computational studies, we found some unique yet challenging CDK2/SPY1 inhibitors.

In this presentation, I will discuss the importance of stereochemical control in the design and synthesis of novel and selective CDK2/SPY1 inhibitors. The synthesis ensures that the inhibitors are stereochemically pure, and thus the biological activity can be accurately evaluated. These results can then be used to refine our computational models to further improve the selectivity of our drug candidates.

The Essentiality of Spy1 in Cooperation with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Drivers to Promote Tumour Formation

Maliha Baseet, University of Windsor
Bre-Anne Fifield, University of Windsor
Lisa A. Porter, University of Windsor

Liver cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, standing at an estimation of 800,000 deaths annually. Among the various subtypes, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary liver malignancy. HCC is known to develop through a series of genetic and epigenetic alterations of proto-oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes in the liver environment. These changes ultimately lead to the malignant transformation of hepatocytes, the primary cells of the liver. Various HCC drivers are known to cause disruption of cellular pathways and promote tumour formation. Importantly, several cell cycle mediators cause misregulation, thereby stimulating tumour formation and progression. The cyclin-like protein Spy1, promotes cell cycle progression and overrides apoptosis. Recent reports have detected increased levels of Spy1 in human HCC, which directly correlates to severity of the disease and poor prognosis. We hypothesize that Spy1 plays a critical role along with hepatocellular carcinoma drivers to advance tumour development.  We will test the essentiality of Spy1 on HCC development by first investigating potential gRNAs to use for Spy1 knockout in vivo in the liver, for hydrodynamic tail vein injections in wildtype mice. Simultaneously, in vitro testing of HCC cells (HepG2) will study the importance of Spy1 in HCC cell characteristics in combination with HCC drivers such as c-myc, p53, and 𝛽-catenin. This project will assist in understanding the essentiality of Spy1 in HCC, which may reveal insight into the molecular mechanism of the tumour suppressors and proto-oncogenes connected with this subset of liver cancer.

The Last of the Leaves: Weaving Words of Social Suffering and the Act of Living

Samantha Ashlyn Wauthier-Paspuleti, University of Windsor

Covering nearly two years of autoethnographic experience, this article will use the poetic form, more specifically 32 haiku, tanka, and broken verse poems written between 2020 and 2022, to make sense of the role that social positionality (daughter, wife, mother, PhD student, academic employee, patient etc.) and environmental factors (COVID-19 governmental restrictions and institutional red-tape) assume in the creation of social suffering. Stemming from two distinct traditions of classical social scientific thought, namely, an intersectional and symbolic interactionist perspective, this article will seek to undermine both what exactly it means to suffer and the hegemonic conceptualization of social suffering as a one-size-fits-all experience. This combination of the autoethnographic and poetic lens will enable the effective spotlighting of subjective experience and give way to the development of new and continuing discussions on the complexity and conflict that occurs between ‘the mitigated Self’ and ‘Society’ in times of extreme social change.

The relationship between the spatial pattern of lakeside wetlands and water quality utilizing UAV hyperspectral remote sensing

Yijun Wanghuang

Lakes are one of the most important freshwater resources on the earth, yet water quality in Dianchi Lake (China) has been declining due to increased human usage and alterations to the natural landscape. Wetlands surrounding the lake help buffer it from human impacts, can purify agricultural and other pollutants, and artificial wetlands have been suggested as a solution to improve lake water quality. It is unclear if the efficacy of lakeside wetlands varies and if the spatial pattern of these wetlands is a contributing factor to near shore water quality. Assessing lakeside wetlands characteristics relies upon high-resolution surveys, which is offered by UAV hyperspectral remote sensing as it offers high spatial resolution, strong band continuity and large amount of spectral information and has been widely used for wetland plant classification and physicochemical parameter retrieval. To quantify the relationship between near shore water quality and wetlands pattern, we conducted a hyperspectral UAV survey that characterized land cover classes and their spatial arrangement in 10 different coastal lake sections. Specifically, supervised classification was performed on the preprocessed hyperspectral images and Fragstats was used to calculate multiple landscape composition, connectivity, and configuration. These spatial pattern metrics will be correlated to the 8 measured water quality metrics including temperature(T), dissolved oxygen (DO), electrical conductance (EC), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus(TP),NH3-N,pH and chlorophyll a. Principal components analysis will be used to reduce the water quality data dimensionality. This research provides feasible theoretical and technical support for future wetland ecosystem protection and monitoring.

The Role of Cell Cycle Mediators in the Progression of Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis in Male and Female Murine Models

Amy Llancari, University of Windsor
Dr. Bre-Anne Fifield, University of Windsor
Dr. Lisa Porter, University of Windsor

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most prevalent primary cancer of the liver and one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. There are a multitude of risk factors that contribute to the development of HCC including viral infection, obesity, alcoholism, as well as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In the case of these chronic diseases and repeated injury, the liver continuously repairs itself to maintain its structural integrity, resulting in fibrosis, and in more serious cases, cirrhosis– major risk factors in the development of HCC. Men are 3-5x more likely to develop liver cancer than women; however, the exact mechanism for this remains undetermined. Previous work in our lab using a transgenic mouse model overexpressing the cyclin-like protein Spy1 showed an increased incidence of HCC and decrease in rates of fibrosis, suggesting a link between cell cycle regulation and progression to HCC. Spy1 binds and activates CDKs at the G1-S and G2-M checkpoints, leading to cell cycle progression independent of cyclin-based regulation. Using a methionine-choline deficient diet to induce NASH, the role of various cell cycle mediators will be investigated to uncover the link between cell cycle regulation and NASH disease progression. In addition, differences between female and male mouse responses to the diet with respect to cell cycle regulation will be analyzed. A better understanding of the relationship between cell cycle regulation and NASH disease progression in both female and male mouse models will help identify novel diagnostic markers and pathways of therapeutic importance in HCC.

The Terrorization of Muslim Canadians in a Post-9/11 Era: A Critical Analysis of Racial Profiling, Self-Identity and Surveillance

Vanessa Amelia Bumanlag Ms., University of Windsor

Canada has been praised for its multicultural approach towards their policies and procedures regarding immigrants through its politized involvement with introducing multicultural literature in our constitution. However, the implementation of these policies and procedures questions the authenticity of these multicultural initiatives in relation to the overall security detainment, racial profiling and discrimination faced by Muslim Canadians in a post-9/11 era. The commoditization of immigrant practices prioritizing the coercive white social order needs to be addressed in relation to the inherent incline of religious and ethnical hierarchy that displaces those minority classifications. Specifically concerning the entrenched cleansing of Muslim bodies within a post-9/11 era, it is imperative to conceptualize the deliberate denigration and vilification of Muslim characteristics and practices as a means of augmenting existing surveillance practices. This paper explores into the terrorization of Canadian Muslim’s race relations, identities and policing bodies in a post-9/11 era and their impacts on socio-economic relations of Canadian Muslims. Previous research has suggested that these security-based policies and procedures are the foundation of obscuring Muslim identities and furthermore forcing assimilation that highlights the preferential treatment of the white majority over the terrorist ‘other’. Introducing the idea of reactive identity formation and identity concealment provides a robust approach in attempting to introduce literature and framework for combating racial profiling and the policing and surveillance of Muslim bodies through breaking down negative stereotypes manipulated into fear-mongering media and introducing the integration of Muslim literature in everyday practices.

Keywords: Muslim identity, 9/11 effects, multiculturalism, racial profiling, terrorism

Voices in Undergraduate Research Experience (VURE) Panel Session

Samuel Jokodola, University of Windsor
Anumita Jain, University of Windsor
Carol Adu-Bobie, University of Windsor
Sydney Fuerth, University of Windsor
Noelle Dupret Smith

Voices in Undergraduate Research Experience (VURE) brings awareness to opportunities for undergraduates to do academic research and creative work, especially students who identify as members of a minority community. Opportunities to engage in research work and creative activities can enhance a student’s opportunity freedoms, confidence, and sense of belonging (Hart, 2012 and 2019; Walker 2008). Additionally, a key outcome for socially just higher education experiences should include opportunities for social mobility, to engage in theoretical and powerful knowledge, and to learn skills for the knowledge economy (Calitz, 2017; Olssen & Peters, 2005; Wheelahan, 2012). The VURE team initiated a listening process to gather advice and solicit support from various stakeholders like the Office of Human Rights, Equity, and Accessibility, the Anti-Black Racism Task Force, and the Aboriginal Education Centre, amongst many other offices. In the ongoing listening process, the VURE team aims to understand questions of belonging across groups as rationales for undergraduates' desire and awareness of conducting research and creative work with faculty and their peers (Langford & Clance, 1993; Stiwich, McCunn, and Dayal). VURE aims to establish a reflective and engaged student network that inspires inclusive affiliations among peers, research networks, and faculty researchers (Walker, 2006, 2008; Weeks, Villeneuve, Hutchinson, Roger, Versnel, & Packer, 2015). This is a panel presentation with four University of Windsor undergraduate students.

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