College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Chemistry

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(Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 16.5)"


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Geography

Identify Evolution of Convective Cloud in Landfall Hurricanes Using High-Resolution Doppler Radar Mosaic

"Viewing real-time rainfall on map via smartphone or websites for weather is easy nowadays due to nationwide deployed weather Doppler radars. These colorful images displayed to our end-users are called ""reflectivity mosaic"" as they are composed from three-dimensional scans from radar stations. Doppler radar network in U.S. is the most precise observing methods that run operationally. This network provides irreplaceable data to issue warning quickly when hurricanes approaching. However, those highly precise observation requires huge computational resources to process and need to be fine tuned to reflect physical process inside hurricanes to identify possibilities of underestimation of heavy rainfall, which directly cause life-threaten and property loss.

Traditionally, this is the research area from meteorologists. But meteorological methods would divide the research object into small grids and look into kinetic process on individual tiny grids but ignore its spatial relationship between grids. This research is an effort to reveal these critical spatial characters and spatial relationship inside hurricanes from a macro aspect. We are expecting those spatial characters could help us to reduce overestimation from those ""composite reflectivity mosaic image"" and underestimation from ""true ground observation"", as well as better prediction of spatial distribution of heavy rainfalls. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 16.6)"



"The American Association of Orthodontists Annual Session is the most valued conference in our field. The speakers include the most knowledgeable orthodontists and orthodontic researchers in the world. Attending this conference will provide me the opportunity to hear a number of these speakers present their research findings and to learn new techniques that will supplement the education I am receiving in my UF residency program.

Attendance of the lectures in the conference will provide me with new knowledge that I can apply to patient care in our clinics. For example, one of the lectures I would like to attend is titled “Craniofacial Team Care: The Orthodontist’s Roles.” This lecture can provide me with patient care information that I can put to work immediately when rotating through the Craniofacial Clinic at Shands. Furthermore, there is a whole afternoon of lectures dedicated to treating Cleft Lip and Palate patients. As a resident we see these patients a few times a year when we rotate through the clinic, an experience that made UF attractive as an applicant. Despite this, it is insufficient to be completely competent, and gaining this information could be invaluable. Other lectures I would like to attend and learn in include those about early treatment, surgical techniques, treatment for open bite patients and temporary anchorage devices.

The conference also serves as an opportunity to learn more about current research. We have the opportunity to see not only published information but also research from other orthodontic programs that is unpublished. We can discuss with researchers, residents, and orthodontists face to face. This is a rare opportunity as they come from all over for this meeting. The opportunity for networking is extremely important, and can allow for my professional growth as a resident at UF and as an orthodontist in the profession."

"As we learn new techniques, our program evolves and remains up to date in the orthodontic field. From the lectures we attend, we are able to gain new methods of treatment and scientific information. This information has a direct effect on the UF community because we use it to better serve our patients. Through residency seminars we have the opportunity to share these new techniques and options with other dental specialties and healthcare professionals. As orthodontics is an ever changing specialty, meetings like this are paramount to keep the program and residents at the fore front of information. Additionally, we as residents also pass our knowledge on to dental students and undergraduate volunteers that shadow in our clinics to learn more about our field. The more current we are, the better the information they receive as well.

For the program and school it is important to have a presence at these conferences. We get to know other residents, presenters, and researchers and even share some of the things we are doing here to treat patients and further research. The UF orthodontics program is known as one of the best in the country. It is important to us to proudly represent the Gator Nation and ensure that its presence is known and felt in the orthodontic community."


College of Public Health and Health Professions - Rehabilitation Science

Prevalence of Inaccurate Foot Strike Detection in Runners: Relation to Shoe Type and Injury

Running is a rapidly growing sport for its many health benefits such as weight loss and improved mood. Additionally, with this increase in popularity of the sport so to has the "gear" associated with running. There are a multitude of shoe types and styles for avid and novice runners to select from. Based on previous work in our laboratory we have seen some evidence that suggests that "type" of shoes some runners are wearing may interfere with perception of foot strike pattern and running health. The aim of our study was to determine runners' perceived foot strike pattern relative to their actual foot strike pattern, shoe selection and injury rate. We had participants complete a survey related to their training habits and shoe selection, and then had them run on a treadmill to assess their running form and foot strike pattern. After testing 274 runners,we determined that over half of our runners incorrectly perceived their foot strike pattern. Furthermore, these individuals complained of knee pain two times more than those who correctly perceived their foot strike. Shoe selection also played a role, in that people who correctly perceived their foot strike had lighter weight shoes meaning they were able to feel the ground under their feet helping them better perceive their foot strike more accurately. Other research has shown that when you can feel the ground underneath you more as you run, you will land softly further reducing the forces transmitted through your joints. This will potentially decrease your chances of incurring injuries during running. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 12.6)


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - Forest Resources and Conservation

Identifying significant drivers for the tradeoff and synergy between carbon sequestration and water yield ecosystem services at the watershed/eco-region level in the southeastern United States.

"In this study we use the term ""ecosystem service"" which is defined as “benefits people obtain from ecosystem”. The Ecosystem service provides ways to understand and deal with negative observation loop which is created by humans for their needs. Ecosystem assessment can be distinguished into four categories of ecosystem services: Provisioning (e.g., of Seafood, timber, Water), regulating (e.g., of climate, floods, Carbon), supporting (e.g., Pollination and pest control for food production) and cultural (e.g., serenity, inspiration). Carbon in the atmosphere can be sequestrated by the forest which reduces global warming. This process is called Carbon sequestration which becomes a ecosystem service. In this project spatial analysis of carbon sequestration and other service which is water yield can help to identify significant relationship between them and response to some external drivers (Climate, topography and Soil type etc.) This framework will make better understanding of trade-offs and synergies between ecosystem services to implement management policies for reducing carbon emissions and to prevent water yield(run-off) losses in watersheds across Southeastern United States. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 12.5)"


College of Engineering - Biomedical Engineering

Biomaterial-based Microparticle Vaccine Modulates Cellular Tolerance in Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system recognizes its own pancreatic beta cells as foreign and seeks to destroy them. Dendritic cells are an important cell type in T1D genesis, thought to be responsible for the initial uptake of pancreatic cell debris and aberrantly recognizing these host cells as foreign. There is currently no cure for T1D. With over 30,000 new diagnoses per year and annual costs greater than $15 billion, there is an urgent need to develop therapies capable of reversing T1D. Our project aims to target dendritic cells via small microparticles capable of delivering FDA-approved immunosuppressive and tolerogenic drugs in order to reprogram the immune system to recognize pancreatic beta cells correctly, as normal healthy cells. We successfully fabricated microparticles smaller than cells, and showed delivery of said drugs to the interior of dendritic cells. Not only did the dendritic cells show a decreased expression of markers that can activate autoreactive cells, but they were specific for immune cells that target pancreatic beta cells, leaving the rest of immune system intact (important for tumor and bacterial safety). Furthermore, our vaccine resulted in over a 60% prevention rate and a 50% reversal rate in mice with T1D, highlighting its effectiveness and giving hope for clinical translation to humans with T1D. These results have broad implications in autoimmune research, suggesting a novel type of therapy using cell-targeting microparticles as vaccine can restore tolerance in T1D. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 15.9)


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Botany

Corolla length does matter: investigating the phenotypic and genetic underpinnings of flower size in Polemoniaceae

When you look at the flowers growing outside, one thing that we all recognize is that there are differences in flower size between different species, sometimes drastically different, with the majority of this size difference involving the petals, or the showy parts of the flowers. One major driving force behind this is differences in pollinators, with the example of hummingbirds selecting for larger flowers than bees. Even though we recognize these differences, the cellular and genetic components of flower size differences are not well understood. For this project, we utilized a small group of 5 closely related species, all with different observed pollinators and differences in flower size. The largest being about 25 mm long, and the smallest being 8 mm. With these 5 species, we have visualized the cells making up the petals (showy parts) using a method we developed which yields high quality 3D images. With these images we were able to measure and characterize differences in cell size and shape across all 5 species, with each species having four developmental stages from four individuals sampled. From the cellular component we found out that a certain cell type only shows up in mature flowers. In order to get to the genetic component of flower size, we sequenced all the genes present in the developing flowers from the largest and smallest flowered species. This allowed comparison between genes present only in the large flowers, only in the small flowers, and shared between the two. This allows us to narrow down the search for the genes responsible for the differences in flower size we observe in this group. Comparing the results here to other groups of flowers will allow inference to how well conserved this genetic pathway may be. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 14.3)


College of Design, Construction, and Planning - Building Construction

Pedagogical Approaches to Teaching Students how to do Environmental Design Research

"Short Description

This paper is mainly about a method of architectural education that gives students opportunities to directly involve with the training process and learn by experience. This paper is a research report of the implementation of a particular method of teaching ""place meaning"" to graduate students. Place meaning is important for the architectural student to have a better sense of man-space relationship. The author as the instructor travelled with students to a historical setting. Students stay in that setting for three days , experience it, and lived there. Then they were interviewed by the instructor. The students' own experiences helped them to understand how residents lived in those spaces and how much their experiences are important to do a person-environment behavior research.

(Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 12.8)"

College of Medicine - Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

Analysis of Leukocyte Cell Surface Markers and Differential Cell Populations in the Bronchoalveolar Lavage of Lung Transplant Patients

"Approximately 1,700 individuals receive a lung transplant every year. Of these patients, 78% will survive the first year. At year five, only 51% of patients will still be alive. While there are many different complications that can affect the outcome of a major organ transplant procedure, chronic allogeneic rejection remains a major source of morbidity and mortality. Current methods to diagnose chronic lung transplant rejection include physical examinations of the lung tissue as well as pulmonary function tests such as forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV-1). There are currently no specific molecular markers, such as cytokines or cell infiltrate diversity, indicative of lung transplant rejection. Establishment of markers specific for lung rejection could allow for earlier and more effective treatment in long-term care. In this study, we tested whether or not screening of common pro-inflammatory cell-surface markers of local cell populations would be able to accurately predict the grade of rejection in lung transplant patients.

In this study, 394 bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples were collected from lung transplant patients from 2011-2014. During a BAL, a broncoscope is passed through the mouth and into the lungs where upon saline is released into a small area of the lung and then collected for examination. These saline samples were then analyzed for select biomarkers and specific cells populations that could be characteristic of patient allograft rejection status. We found that, of the biomarkers analyzed, there appeared to be no significant relationships in respect to allograft rejection status. However, within the lung, macrophage and neutrophil cell populations appear to be significantly correlated. In our patients, high numbers of macrophages appear to be present when neutrophil levels are low. Future work that considers patient medication regimen, which may affect the milieu of the lung, may be able to shed more light on early markers in chronic lung rejection. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 14)"


College of Engineering - Industrial and Systems Engineering

Dynamic shortest-path interdiction games

Route planning in the presence of uncertain travel times is important in many application areas such as urban traffic, healthcare logistics, and disaster evacuation design. In this work we describe a novel methodology for route planning in a network in which uncertain delays are only known as the network is traveled. A typical example arises in traffic networks where, in the absence of real-time traffic data, a driver realizes about delays only when it is too late to alter the chosen route. To plan a reliable route, existing models assume that delays are known beforehand (i.e., they can be foreseeable with enough anticipation), resulting in an optimistic route whose total travel time could be drastically increased by unanticipated delays. Other approaches are based on pessimistic scenarios for the delays, producing a reliable route but with unnecessarily high travel times (because the route is planned using a pessimistic scenario that in most cases is unlikely to occur). Our approach for route planning incorporates the ability of the driver to change the initially planned route after observing an unexpected delay along the way, producing a reliable route with realistic travel times. To overcome the mathematical challenges in this problem, we developed novel algorithms that are proven to produce an optimal route. Additional applications of our approach arise in military operations and disaster evacuation design, in which the uncertainty on the route ahead is high. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 17)


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Zoology

Using bat flies to examine bat dispersal in an island system

Dispersal is a key variable in understanding many biological topics including disease transmission, conservation risk, and evolutionary history. Genetics can help us estimate dispersal without having to physically track the movement of individuals. If individuals are moving between two geographically separated populations (i.e., dispersing) and mating after they move, we would expect that these two populations would have similar genetic composition. When dealing with mammals, it can be very difficult to collect genetic data from enough individuals to accurately characterize their population dynamics. Parasites tend to have larger populations than their hosts. They also have faster generation times than their hosts and this allows parasites to accumulate genetic mutations much more quickly. For these reasons, parasites may provide a powerful tool for assessing host population dynamics that cannot be assessed using host genetics alone. To test this hypothesis, I assessed the connectivity of populations of two bat species, the buffy flower bat (Erophylla sezekorni) and the Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis), in the Bahamas. Preliminary data suggests that these two species have difficulty dispersing across an oceanic channel that separates the northern and southern Bahamas. However, this channel is not wide and these species easily disperse between islands separated by similar distances. I am currently collecting data on the bat flies associated with each of these species. Bat flies are host-specific parasites and therefore track the evolution of their hosts. Preliminary data from the bat flies suggests that populations separated by this channel are genetically similar. This suggests that bats are dispersing across this barrier, but dispersal events are too rare or recent to appear in the bat genetics. This could also suggest that bats disperse across this channel but are not mating. The characteristics of bat flies and parasites in general can act as high-resolution indicators for host dispersal. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 15.1)


College of Medicine - Genetics and Genomics

Peroxisome Proliferator-Activating Receptor Gamma (PPAR-?) Antagonist Protects Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell (HPC) Function in Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) Model

The bone marrow is an source of the cells required for vascular repair. In type 2 diabetes, the bone marrow undergoes a series of changes that lead it to become fattier and inflammated, which makes these cells dysfunctional. Like this, the bone marrow becomes a key factor in the development of diabetic vascular complications, including diabetic retinopathy. We studied the changes in the bone marrow with the progression of diabetes over 9 months using the Leprdb (db/db) mouse and examined the effect of treatment with the drug bisphenol-a dyglicidyl ether (BADGE). Bisphenol-A Dyglicidil Ether (BADGE) is a compound that is able to block fat formation in the body, and could potentially prevent the excessive fat in the bone marrow and protect the cells before they become damaged. In untreated mice, we saw increased number of progenitors in the bone marrow, which tended to prefer pro-inflammatory lineages. When we analyzed the protein content of the bone marrow, mice showed increased levels of proteins that indicate increased inflammation and damage in the bone marrow. These mice also showed increased vascular damage in the eye, which showed that diabetic complications had already started taking place With BADGE treatment, db/db mice showed a 12% reduction in weight and 11% increase in survival. Cell numbers in the bone marrow were restored to normal levels, and pro-inflammatory lineages were no longer elevated. Our study supports that BADGE treatment prevents the diabetes-induced changes in the bone marrow and that this type of drugs may be considered as a therapeutic option for the maintenance of bone marrow function to minimize development of vascular complications. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 16.4)


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Anthropology


"This research examines the place of religion and spirituality in the bèlè drum-dance culture of Martinique. The research is based on 21 months of ethnographic field research from 2009 - 2014. I worked with cultural activists, dancers, drummers, and singers of the bèlè tradition during the course of my field research, raising questions about the spiritual significance and sacred functions of the dance tradition. I also ask how and why the tradition has been secularized.

In this paper, I put the different perspectives regarding religion and spirituality into conversation, and I analyze what those perspectives tell us about Martinique's relationship with metropolitan France, the Caribbean region, and the wider African diaspora. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 13.1)"


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Chemistry

Optimization and Application of Continuous Solvent Addition and Controlled Elution to Paper Spray Ionization

"The research being presented at this conference explores a method of quick sample analysis. In situations where lots of samples are received, such as hospitals, pharmaceutical drug trials or forensic laboratories, fast methods of analysis are need for timely results. Unfortunately, many methods that are in wide-spread practice are slow because samples must be treated in specific ways in order for their analysis. For example, proteins must be removed from blood samples before analysis.

However, the technique of paper spay ionization mass spectrometry requires little to no sample preparation. Samples come into the lab on a paper cartridge and are attached directly to the paper spray setup. By applying solvent and an electrical potential, the sample can be analyzed then and there.

At this point, research with this technique has only applied discreet amounts of solvent. My research shows by applying a continuous amount of solvent at a low flow rate, samples can be more completely analyzed. This means analytes can be measured at lower levels, and analytes that stick to the paper longer have a greater chance of being seen. Additionally, by continuously adding solvent, the composition of the solvent can be slowly changed. By slowly changing the solvent during the analysis, compounds with varying attractiveness to hydrophobic or hydrophilic solvents can be separated. For example, by varying solvents, morphine can be separated from its metabolite of morphine-6-glucuronide. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 13.4)"


College of Engineering - Biomedical Engineering

"Having completed my bachelor’s degree in Biological Engineering and my first year in the Biomedical Engineering (BME) program at UF, I have a solid foundation in basic aspects of biomedical engineering and am familiar with nanotechnology, which is a major component of my research field. However, in order to expand my professional skill sets, I need to be exposed to leading research in the field beyond basic concepts. The World Academy of Science, Engineering, and Technology hosts the International Conference on Nanotechnologies and Biomedical Engineering (ICNBE), and this is a unique chance for me to do just that. Attendance at ICNBE will expose me to a wide array of diverse researchers in BME, nanotechnology, and related areas of research. ICNBE 2015 aims to bring together leading researchers in areas of particular interest to me, including nanotechnologies, nano-objects, and medical imaging.

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