Session D: 3:30PM – 5PM

Sciences. Session D – Oral Presentations, Parlor A, Union

SESSION D (3:30PM – 5PM)
Location: Parlor A, A. Ray Olpin University Union



New Biological Concepts for Artificial Life and Intelligence
Landon Drewes, Utah Valley University

Faculty Mentor Fernando Otalora-Luna, Utah Valley University

SESSION D 3:30-3:45PM
Parlor A, Union
Science and Technology

Currently, there is a need to build new concepts for the development of original forms of life. Our traditional biological concept of life is restricted, as life is considered a spontaneous phenomenon, i.e. not created according to plans and projects. Thus, the natural concept of life restricts the development of artificial life, which is based on plans and projects. If we want to “create” life, certain terms such as cells, growing, DNA and evolution represent an insurmountable constraint-they could be problematic- or just unuseful. In this regard, scientists must concentrate efforts in order to critically review long-standing concepts and propose transcendental ideas for a novel type of life, a type that is actually defined and created by humans rather than by nature. The challenge is enormous. But we can start by addressing the old biological problems and the new technological challenges.The old biological problems include, naturalism, vitalism, anthropocentrism, adaptationist program, teleology, orthogenesis, intelligent design, Anthropocene etc. and the new technological challenges focus on ecological crisis, artificial life, artificial intelligence, Novacene, cyborgs, etc. These categories cannot be addressed with only the classical biological theoretical framework. If life is really a universal phenomena, it should be possible to make general and novel theoretical contributions to the construction of a new type of life, while surpassing the frontiers of the traditional concepts, e.g. genes, mitosis, meiosis, natural selection, etc. Here, we review a) how Darwin treated the concepts of natural and artificial and b) his notion that Homo sapiens makes himself different from nature. Additionally, we discuss the possibility of broadening the range of concepts so as to develop a universal basis that might serve to carry life to a broader scope, proposing several definitions for life, one of which is inclusive to both natural and artificial life alike.


The role of CEBP/A in the unfolded protein response in Ins-1 beta cells and primary rat islets
Peter Ellsworth, Brigham Young University

Faculty Mentor Jeffery Tessem, Brigham Young University

SESSION D 3:50-4:05PM
Parlor A, Union
Science and Technology

The transcription factor Nkx6.1, when overexpressed in primary rodent and human islets, is sufficient to enhance beta cell proliferation, increase insulin secretion and enhance cell survival. We have sought to define the transcriptional targets of Nkx6.1 that allow for its ability to increase functional beta cell mass.  We have shown that Nkx6.1 induces expression of the transcription factor CEBP𝛼. CEBP𝛼 overexpression is sufficient to induce proliferation of Ins-1 832/13 beta cells and primary rat islets. CEBP𝛼 overexpression enhances glucose stimulated insulin secretion from primary rat islets, while decreasing total insulin content. Finally, CEBP𝛼 overexpression protects Ins-1 832/13 beta cells from thapsigargin and glucolipotoxicity induced cell death but fails to protect against etoposide and camptothecin induced cell death. These data suggest that CEBP𝛼 plays a critical role in Nkx6.1 mediated expansion of functional beta cell mass through protecting against endoplasmic reticulum induced stress. We demonstrate the effect of CEBP𝛼 on gene transcription of genes essential for modulating endoplasmic reticulum induced stress.



The Effects of Exercise on THC Reduction of Learning and Memory
Dylan Kendall, Brigham Young University

Faculty Mentor Jeffrey Edwards, Brigham Young University

SESSION D 4:10-4:25PM
Parlor A, Union
Science and Technology

In the last decade, most states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal use. Millions of people in the United States alone use marijuana and it has been estimated that 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder. (Hasin 2001). Up to this point, some research has shown that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the two primary psychoactive elements in marijuana, may cause memory and learning deficits in the hippocampus of mice (Barfi 2021). Because of this, learning more about THC has widespread impact on the world and the future of healthcare. In particular, its vital that physicians and healthcare providers understand the potential risks and benefits associated with prescribing medical marijuana to patients. The purpose of our project is to better understand the effect that exercise has on learning and memory deficits caused by chronic exposure to THC. The primary measure of learning and memory in our experiments will be synaptic plasticity and long-term potentiation (LTP). Synaptic plasticity refers to the ability of the brain to adapt its connectivity while LTP refers to the strengthening of synapses in the brain. Overall, our results will lend greater insight into the mechanism of THC on the brain, and how exercise affects this mechanism.
Barfi, E., Tehrani, A. M., Mohammadpanah, M., Boroujeni, M. E., Meftahi, G. H., Sadeghi, Y., Eziy, S., Khatmi, A., Abdollahifar, M. A., Ghorbani, Z., & Aliaghaei, A. (2021). The role of tetrahydrocannabinol in inducing disrupted signaling cascades, hippocampal atrophy and memory defects. Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, 113, 101943.
Hasin, D. S., Saha, T. D., Kerridge, B. T., Goldstein, R. B., Chou, S. P., Zhang, H., Jung, J., Pickering, R. P., Ruan, W. J., Smith, S. M., Huang, B., & Grant, B. F. (2001). Prevalence of marijuana use disorders in the united states between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. American Medical Association (AMA).





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