Session A: 9AM – 10:30AM

Science and Social Sciences. Session A – Oral Presentations. Collegiate Room, Union

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
COLLEGIATE ROOM, A. Ray Olpin University Union


Herbal Tea Affect on APEH
Faith Luk, Weber State University
Courtney Stechelin, Weber State University

Faculty Mentor Tracy Covey, Weber State University

SESSION A 9:20-9:35AM
Collegiate, Union

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) are proteins or lipids that become glycated as a result of exposure to sugars. Glycative stress is defined as a cellular status with abnormal and accelerated accumulation of AGEs and is associated with the development of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and various types of carcinomas. In order to combat the accumulation of AGEs, mechanisms that prevent glycative stress are of interest. Acyl Peptide Enzyme Hydrolase (APEH, also called Oxidized Protein Hydrolase (OPH)) is a dual function enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of N-terminal acetylated amino acids and also degrades oxidized and damaged proteins as a result of AGEs. Building off recently published work showing that tea extracts can activate APEH/OPH, we hypothesized that herbal tea extracts may reduce AGEs by enhancing APEH activity. We have tested various types of herbal tea extracts to determine effects on APEH activity and have found extracts with both activating and inhibiting effects. Next we will test if activating tea extracts have a different effect on AGEs compared to inhibiting tea extracts. If successful, this work suggests that certain herbal teas could contribute to the prevention of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and various types of carcinomas by activating APEH and reducing the accumulation of AGEs.


Communication Between Young Adults and Family Members with Type 2 Diabetes
Inakhshmi Rashid, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor Lisa Aspinwall, University of Utah

SESSION A 9:40-9:55AM
Collegiate, Union
Social Sciences

With a staggering 34.2 million Americans diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (T2D) as of 2018, T2D has become one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in the United States. Despite the growing prevalence of (T2D) and the general understanding of its preventable nature, most people susceptible to T2D still vastly underestimate their risk. In order to combat the rapidly growing rate of T2D correcting these risk perceptions is one possible intervention to help inspire preventative behaviors within individuals. While it has been established that having some level of knowledge about family history results in more accurate risk perceptions, there is still a key component missing to answer why this discrepancy in perceived and actual risk continues to persist. It is almost completely unknown how families talk about T2D risk and prevention and how these communications are related to subsequent risk perceptions and behaviors among young adults with a family history of T2D. To help fill this gap in understanding, this study focuses on young adults with a family history of T2D and seeks to understand how they view T2D, what their experience with the illness has been, and how these experiences have shaped their own perceived risk and intended preventative health behaviors. Of particular interest is how information concerning T2D is communicated between affected and non-affected family members and whether this can have a positive or negative influence on risk perception and T2D prevention. To gather this information both qualitative interviews and a collection of surveys were used to allow participants the freedom to discuss topics most important to them, while also collecting information through pre-established psychological tools as complementary data. Having this knowledge can inform the design of public health initiatives to encourage more effective communication within families about T2D, leading to more realistic perceptions about T2D and one’s susceptibility to it. Understanding which communication methods are most effective also has the potential to improve preventative health behaviors and lower the incidence rate of T2D among members of high-risk families.


Evolution of Visual Opsin Genes in Caddisflies (Insecta: Trichoptera)
Ashlyn Powell, Brigham Young University

Faculty Mentor Paul Frandsen, Brigham Young University

SESSION A 10:00-10:15AM
Collegiate, Union

Insects have evolved complex and diverse visual systems controlled by light-sensing molecules, known as opsins. Insect visual opsins group into three major clades based on wavelength sensitivity. These clades are known as long wavelength (LW), short wavelength (SW), and ultraviolet wavelength (UV) visual opsins. In addition, many insect species possess a non-visual opsin, named Rh7, whose function is not fully understood. While opsins in some insect groups have been studied well, opsins in caddisflies (Insecta: Trichoptera) have never been studied. Here, we found and used 59 caddisfly opsin sequences across 27 genomes to determine the phylogenetic relationships of opsin genes in Trichoptera. We found that there has been a loss of the SW opsin in all the species of Trichoptera in this study. In addition, a copy of the UV and Rh7 opsins were found in some, but not all, of the species. Lastly, we found great diversity in the occurrence and phylogenetic relationships in the LW opsin among different Trichoptera species. The findings of this study provide insight into the diversity of opsins in caddisflies and form a basis for further research of the evolutionary drivers and complexity of visual systems in Trichoptera.



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

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