Session B: 10:45AM – 12:15PM

Medicine, Science and Engineering, Session B – Oral Presentations, Pano East, Union

SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Location: Pano East, A. Ray Olpin University Union


Engineering and Characterization of Antibodies Against  Cancer Biomarker Thymidine Kinase 1
Joshua Bennett, Brigham Young University

Faculty Mentor Scott Weber, Brigham Young University

SESSION B 10:45-11:00AM
Pano East, Union

Engineered antibodies used in immunotherapies have been increasingly successful due to their ability to uniquely target cell expressing specific cancer antigens. Thymidine Kinase 1 (TK1) is a DNA salvage enzyme typically found in the cytosol. However, in certain types of cancer, TK1 is surface expressed, making it a unique cancer biomarker. By identifying antibodies with a high binding affinity for TK1, we can target cancer cells expressing TK1 on their surface. Using cell sorting and a yeast display library expressing 109 human single chain antibody fragments, we have isolated ten unique single-chain antibodies (scFvs) that bind to TK1. Flow cytometry affinity characterization of the 10 clones revealed strong binding affinity in the low nM range. Sequencing of the scFvs showed they all had unique complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) with some similarities among the clones. The scFvs were cloned into constructs containing an antibody constant domain and they will be cultured with cancer cell lines expressing TK1 and evaluated for antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. This research has the potential to target TK1+ cancers and maximize cancer cell death while minimizing harm to healthy cells.


rHsGal-1: A Novel Protein Therapy for LGMD2B
Parker Nelson, Brigham Young University

Faculty Mentor Pam Van Ry, Brigham Young University

SESSION B 11:05-11:20AM
Pano East, Union
Science and Technology

Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2b (LGMD2B) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by a mutation in dysf gene, the gene responsible for the key membrane repair protein called dysferlin. Unlike similar degenerative diseases, there is no viable treatment for LGMD2B. In the Van Ry Lab, our research is focused on understanding whether recombinant human Galectin-1 (rHsGal-1) could serve as a viable therapeutic option based on previous studies published evidencing its efficacy in treating Duchesne Muscular Dystrophy. A six-month study was conducted in dysferlin-deficient (BLA/J) mice under which time various assays and experiments were conducted, including monthly blood serum analyses and functional movements tests. Further tests were conducted to elucidate the effects of rHsGal-1 in the murine model, such as a laser injury assay of myofibers and histological examinations to study muscle morphology. Results from tests conducted demonstrated a statistically significant difference between treated and non-treated mice. Membrane repair, muscle morphology, and overall muscular health were improved in treated mice over a six-month period. Continued understanding of the role rHsGal-1 plays in membrane repair will help the thousands of individuals affected by LGMD2B worldwide.



Grallator Tracks as a Window to Growth Strategies of Small-Bodied Early Theropods
Karrah Spendlove, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor Randall Irmis, University of Utah

SESSION B 11:25-11:40AM
Pano East, Union
Science and Technology

Fossil tracks are far more abundant than skeletal remains and record both locomotory information and impressions of the soft tissues that covered the feet. Thus, they have large sample sizes and can act as proxies for determining growth regimes among living dinosaur feet. The St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm (SGDS) in St. George, Utah, USA, has a wealth of tridactyl Grallator tracks, likely made by early, small theropods, preserved on closely-spaced bedding planes. Therefore, the site is as close to population sampling as possible. Tracks were measured using eleven linear metrics, which were used to determine whether these early theropods experienced allometric or isometric growth of their feet. Analysis of track metrics using bivariate plots and regressions suggests weak, negative allometric linear relationships between the width of the track and the length of digits III and IV. Photographs of tracks were utilized in 2D geometric morphometrics, which removes the effect of size by establishing common landmarks on specimen photographs and normalizing all specimens to a single size. This increases understanding of possible allometric growth in ways traditional linear measurements cannot. Both linear measurements and geometric morphometrics suggest a single continuous sample, suggesting the tracks were likely made by a single species or closely related species having similar foot morphologies. These data suggest that as early small theropods increased in size, growth in toe length was slower than growth in foot width. This could indicate that growth progressed to convey larger theropods greater stability to support their increased mass.



An Engineered Subcutaneous Self-Injection Testbed to Assess the Impact of Fluid Viscosity, Syringe Type, and Needle Gauge
Sabrina Su, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor Jay (Jungkyu) Kim, University of Utah

SESSION B 11:45-12:00PM
Pano East, Union

Subcutaneous injection (SC) into the fatty issue between skin and muscle introduces medication to the body through a low-cost and convenient method. SC injections are often used for administering medications that are incompatible with oral delivery. Patients can self-administer these medications via a variety of injection devices – syringes being very common. For certain medications such as biologics, higher drug concentrations lead to higher viscosity medications.  However especially for syringe-based products, sometimes patient strength capabilities are not considered, making it difficult for the patients to apply a steady force on the plunger throughout the injection and eventually complete the injection. The focus of this research is to establish a testing platform for evaluating the dynamic SC injection performance for different viscosity fluids by monitoring the force that patients apply to the syringe plunger throughout injection and the corresponding fluid flow profile. Two alternative testing systems (passive and active testbed) are assembled. A passive system with prefilled syringes of high and low viscosity simulates injection through different needle gauges.  During the injection, the force applied by the patients to the syringe plunger is monitored. The active system simulates different fluid viscosities by using a hose clamp to alter the cross-sectional area of a tubing, thereby controlling fluidic resistance. The active system monitors syringe plunger force as well as a flow profile of syringe-based SC injection. From these SC injection testbeds, we will be able to understand the relationship between applied force and fluid viscosity. The proposed testbeds enhance our understanding of the relationship between fluid viscosity, applied force, syringe type, and effective injection with the results potentially influencing syringe design, needle gauge selection, and upper limits of medicine viscosity for SC injection.



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Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research 2023 - Program by Office of Undergraduate Research is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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