October was a great month for physiology! The Midlands Society of Physiological Sciences also held their virtual annual meeting on October 23rd.
Highlights from Oral Presentations:
Lucas Wang, undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska – Omaha (in collaboration with Lie Gao, Bryan Hackfort, and Irving Zucker) presented research exploring how upregulating a pathway in skeletal muscle that protects from oxidative stress and inflammation prevented age-related declines in heart and skeletal muscle function of mice. In fact, older treated animals were able to run longer and had improved heart function compared to animals that were not treated.
Reema Guda, a senior at Millard North High School and recipient of a High School Award, spoke about various Covid-19 mutations. The Covid-19 virus has about 30,000 letters in its genetic code, which provides ample possibilities for mutations. It is important to study possible mutations as this knowledge may help scientists develop treatments to fight new mutations. Reema’s research focused specifically on examining mutations in the spike protein of the virus, which is the region that is responsible for getting the virus into cells by binding to the ACE2 protein found on human cells.
Anuj Singh, a junior at Millard North High School and recipient of a High School Award, presented research examining how inflammatory gut microbiota reduced the growth of C. elegans.
Highlights from Poster Presentations:
Sabarinath Peruvemba, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Nebraska Medical Center – Omaha presented data exploring how modifications to HDL could actually increase the risk for developing atherosclerosis in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that is associated with heightened risks for cardiovascular disease. In healthy individuals, high levels of HDL are considered protective from cardiovascular disease.
Luke Hamilton, graduate student at the University of Nebraska – Kearney presented research examining how common therapeutic vanilloid compounds such as capsaicin, gingerol, curcumin, and vanillin help ease pain. Luke’s research focused on how these compounds interact with specific receptors associated with pain relief.
Hadassha M.N. Tofilau, graduate student at the University of Nebraska – Kearney studied how diabetes could worsen breast cancer in women resulting in a higher mortality. Diabetic breast cancer is 15-40% more deadly than just breast cancer. Triple negative breast cancer likewise has a very high mortality rate. Through this research, Hadassha explored how high glucose levels increase the number of cancer cells.