Honors thesis poster presentation.
RAS, one of the most prevalent oncogenes, is mutated in 27% of human cancers. Gainof- function RAS mutations activate multiple downstream pathways, including the RASRAF- MEK-ERK and PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways, which are critical in tumorigenesis and cancer cell proliferation. The RAS proteins KRAS, HRAS, and NRAS along with their downstream effectors are attractive targets for cancer therapy since they act as frequent drivers in lung, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. However, RAS proteins have relatively smooth surfaces that lack traditional binding pockets, making inhibitors specific to RAS difficult to create. Recently, a novel small molecule pan-RAS inhibitor named MCI-062 was developed in Dr. Gary Piazza's Drug Discovery Research Center at the Mitchell Cancer Institute. As a pan-RAS inhibitor, MCI-062 is hypothesized to serve as a targeted therapy for RAS-mutant cancers regardless of mutation isoform, including all types of KRAS-mutant lung cancers. The inhibitory effects of MCI-062 were tested on the growth and proliferation of two non-small cell lung cancer cell lines, A549 and H358, using colony formation assays. The cells were plated onto 12-well plates, treated with varying concentrations of MCI-062 in duplicate, and then digitally imaged and analyzed. A549 cells have a KRASG13D mutation, while H358 cells have a KRASG12C mutation. The results indicate that MCI-062 effectively suppresses the growth and proliferation of both A549 and H358 cells despite their differing mutation isoforms, suggesting that MCI-062 successfully functions as a pan-RAS inhibitor.
Deficits in Health Literacy and Inadequacies of Specialized Health Care in the South for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Patients
Honors Thesis poster presentation.
Health literacy is a constantly evolving concept that requires similarly evolving adaptation and specialization of health care to increase the quality of life for all. One demographic that is largely ignored when it comes to research in health literacy, specifically in the traditional South, is the d/Deaf and hard of hearing/Hard of Hearing (DHH) population. The purpose of this study is to determine the general health literacy of this specific demographic and compare results with that of other demographics to highlight the anticipated deficit in health literacy levels and emphasize the critical need for specialized care. This prospective, non-experimental, descriptive study utilized online survey software to gather anonymous general health literacy levels of those that self-identify as DHH. This survey consisted of the Short Assessment of Health Literacy English (SAHL-E) to determine health literacy level and follow-up questions based on trauma in healthcare. Out of 10 participants, all scored greater than or equal to 14, demonstrating good health literacy. Eight of these participants provided thoughtful responses to the questions about trauma and healthcare. Upon analysis, the data shows that regardless of socio-economic status, those who are DHH are in need of accommodations that allow for consistent, high quality health care. This data contributes not only to the realization of reality for the DHH in health care settings, but also the nationwide goal of increasing general health literacy and thus the quality of life.
Comparing Composite Severe Weather Indices of Thunderstorm Activity on Sea-Breeze and Non-Sea-Breeze Days in the Mobile, Alabama Area
Poster for the Honors Thesis project.
Sea breezes (SB) occur frequently from May through October along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coast. One reason why SBs interest forecasters is their ability to spawn summertime thunderstorms, which can cause flash flooding, lightning, and hail. However, forecasting the exact timing and location of SB-driven convection can be challenging. This thesis will focus on Mobile and Baldwin Counties in southwest Alabama, which experience two types of phenomena – SBs along the Gulf of Mexico Coast and bay breezes on either side of Mobile Bay. Over the past years, multiple undergraduate students have analyzed Mobile, Alabama radar imagery of past SB seasons and categorized each day between May 1st and October 31st into one of four categories: Dry SB Days, Convective SB Days, Dry Non-SB (NSB) Days, and Convective NSB Days. Atmospheric balloon (or sounding) data from Slidell, Louisiana is also archived and available from the Wyoming Weather Web (http://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/sounding.html). Severe weather indices (SWI), which are used to predict the likelihood of thunderstorm formation, can be calculated from sounding data. Using a ten-year archive of SB seasons, we calculated composite (or average) SWIs for each of the four categories by reading in individual soundings from the ten-year archive.
Honors thesis poster presentation.
In his 1937 essay “Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel,” Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin coins the term “chronotope” to discuss the inherently interconnected nature of time and space in narrative constructions. According to Bakhtin, there are a number of specific chronotopes (or space/time configurations) that help to define literary genres. Applying Bakhtin’s concepts to Thomas Pynchon’s novel Against the Day (2006), this thesis examines how the idea of narrative space/time can clarify Pynchon’s use of genre to make socio-political commentary. The first chapter of this thesis focuses on Bakhtin’s “road chronotope,” which is characterized by the chance meeting of people in spaces devoted to movement and transport. In such narrative spaces, we often witness the condensation of social class, time, and history. New York City functions as such a space in Against the Day, and Bakhtin’s ideas help explain how and why Pynchon can embed the 9/11 tragedy inside a scene set nearly a hundred years earlier. The second chapter focuses on Bahktin’s “threshold chronotope.” In fiction, the threshold chronotope is a temporal space removed from the normal flow of narrative time, and often the setting for a character’s extended inaction or contemplation in a moment of crisis. One recurring group of characters in Against the Day is called The Chums of Chance, a group of boy aeronauts who crew the airship Inconvenience. The narrative intentionally separates the Chums from the other characters both physically and metaphorically. Using Bakhtin’s idea of the threshold chronotope helps clarify their position in the novel, explaining why they are often presented as more fictional than the other characters. Moreover, the Chums’ position on the threshold of the novel’s action distances them from the real historical events that are described, providing readers with space and time to contemplate the novel’s political import.