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The SUNY Open Access Repository (SOAR) is a centrally managed online digital repository that stores, indexes, and makes available scholarly and creative works of SUNY faculty, students, and staff across SUNY campuses. SOAR serves as an open access platform for those SUNY campuses that do not have their own open access repository environments. 

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  • Biomimetic extracellular matrix hydrogels to model and investigate conventional outflow cell biology under normal and simulated glaucomatous conditions

    Herberg, Samuel; Li, Haiyan (2022-06)
    Dysfunction of the conventional outflow pathway (comprised of the trabecular meshwork (TM) and adjacent Schlemm's canal (SC)) is the principal cause of elevated intraocular pressure in primary open-angle glaucoma. Other in vitro TM model systems cannot accurately mimic the cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interface, limiting their use for investigating glaucoma pathology. In this dissertation, we report a novel biomimetic hydrogel by mixing donor-derived human TM (HTM) cells with ECM proteins found in the native tissue. We demonstrated that this HTM hydrogel system allowed for investigation of actin arrangement, ECM remodeling, cell contractility, and HTM stiffness on a simulated tissue level (Chapter 2). Furthermore, we showed that TGFβ2-induced ERK signaling negatively regulates Rho-associated kinase-mediated phospho-myosin light chain expression and HTM cell contractility when cultured on soft ECM hydrogels but not on glass (Chapter 3). YAP and TAZ are important mechanotransducers implicated in glaucoma pathogenesis. We demonstrated that YAP/TAZ activity was upregulated by transforming growth factor beta 2 (TGFβ2) in both HTM and HSC cells cultured on/in ECM hydrogels (Chapters 4 and 5). It is widely accepted that the glaucomatous TM/SC interface is stiffer. To mimic the stiffness difference between diseased and healthy tissue, we utilized two different methods. In Chapter 4, riboflavin was used to facilitate secondary UV crosslinking of collagen fibrils and stiffen the matrix. We showed that ECM stiffening elevated YAP/TAZ activity in HTM cells through modulating focal adhesions and cytoskeletal rearrangement. In Chapter 6, we developed an ECM-alginate hybrid hydrogel system, which allowed for on-demand control over matrix stiffness during the culture of cells. We found that the stiffened matrix increased nuclear YAP and filamentous-actin fibers in HSC cells, which was completely reversed by matrix softening. We further demonstrated that YAP/TAZ inhibition could rescue HTM/HSC cell dysfunction induced by either TGFβ2 or stiff matrix (Chapters 4, 5, and 6). Finally, we showed that pharmacologic YAP/TAZ inhibition had promising potential to improve outflow facility in an ex vivo mouse eye perfusion model (Chapter 6). Collectively, we have developed bioengineered ECM hydrogels for modeling and investigation of conventional outflow cell-ECM interactions under normal and simulated glaucomatous conditions.
  • Follow the Narcissist – Dark Triad Traits and Their Association to Involvement and Leadership on Campus

    Lau, Katherine; Le, Jennifer U.; Proux, Sydney (2022)
    The Dark Triad Traits (DTT); psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism; characterize selfish and antisocial people who are interpersonally manipulative and exploitative. They prioritize their own self-interests over others’ needs and have strong desires for power, respect, and dominance. Despite being primarily maladaptive, adaptive characteristics that make them more likely to achieve leadership positions include assertiveness, charisma, boldness, and low anxiety (Lilienfield, 2015; Vergauwe, 2021; Galvin et al., 2010; Kessler et al., 2010). These adaptive traits facilitate excelling in group-oriented occupational settings like police departments (Falkenbach et al., 2017), corporations (Babiak, Neuman, & Hare, 2010), and the military (Harms, Sprain, & Hannah, 2011). The purpose of the present study is to examine the unique associations between DTT with involvement in campus activities and leadership positions. Based on prior research (Jonason et al., 2016), we hypothesize that psychopathy and Machiavellianism will be negatively correlated with campus involvement, whereas narcissism will be positively correlated with involvement. We also hypothesize that psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism will be positively correlated with leadership, due to their shared adaptive interpersonal skills of charm. Lastly, we hypothesize that after controlling for shared characteristics, psychopathy and Machiavellianism will independently negatively predict involvement, whereas narcissism will positively predict involvement; and all DTT will independently positively predict leadership. Participants were a sample of 419 undergraduates (82.6% white, 70.6% female), ranging in age from 18 to 35 (M = 19.21) from a northeastern university. Participants completed self-report questionnaires. To measure the dark triad, the Short Dark Triad (Jones & Paulhus, 2014) was used. To measure campus involvement and leadership positions, the College Student Experiences Questionnaire (Zhao, 2002) was used. Results showed that Machiavellianism and narcissism scores independently predicted campus involvement. In contrast, psychopathy scores independently predicted less campus involvement. Results also showed that narcissism and Machiavellianism scores independently predicted greater reports of being in leadership positions, whereas psychopathy was not associated with leadership. These findings support Machiavellian and narcissistic desires to become engaged in and dominate organizations on their undergraduate campuses to fuel needs of control and acclaim (Packer et al., 2021), whereas psychopathy does not significantly correlate with involvement or leadership. Unsurprisingly, psychopathy uniquely predicts lower rates of taking part in campus extracurricular activities, possibly due to its impulsive nature sabotaging efficient collaboration with other members within these campus clubs or teams (Neo et al., 2016).
  • An Agent-Based Model of a Highway On-Ramp

    Jones, Keith; Davidson, Kevin I. (2022)
    Mathematical modeling is a tool often used by researchers to investigate research questions in a cost- efficient manner. While traditional modeling methods focused on constructing equations to represent aggregate properties of a system, in recent decades a new approach – agent-based modeling (or ABM) – has gained in popularity (Bonabeau, 2002) as usage of computers has become more prevalent. The difference between ABM and traditional modeling is, in part, conceptual. ABM takes a ground-up approach, with researchers indicating parameters for the behavior of individual agents (Bonabeau, 2002). The behavior of the system, then, is reimagined as the result of the interactions of these agents, as opposed to earlier top-down approaches that modeled the behavior of the system directly. This makes agent-based modeling particularly suited for capturing emergent phenomena (Bonabeau, 2002). Additionally, ABM is better suited for applications in which it makes more sense to consider the behavior of individual entities, not the entire system (Bonabeau, 2002). Because of these benefits, one typical application of ABM is in modeling traffic systems (Benhamza et al., 2012). Traffic itself is an emergent phenomenon – traffic jams, for example, can move in the opposite direction of the cars that cause them (Bazghandi, 2012). Studying traffic is of utmost concern as traffic jams can cause considerable safety and efficiency concerns. Because any sizeable infrastructure change is expensive to implement, policymakers and researchers alike benefit from the efficiency of modeling. In the current study, the student researcher is developing an agent-based traffic model using the Python-based ABM program Mesa (Version 2.0; Kazil et al., 2021). The model consists of a two-lane highway with an on-ramp, and car agents driving on this highway. Whereas other studies have focused on physical features of the roadway (Benhamza et al., 2012), the intent of this study is to examine behavior. Planned analyses involve comparing three possible behavioral responses (maintaining speed and lane, changing lanes, and slowing) to cars merging from the on-ramp. While slowing or changing lanes may seem more “courteous”, these behaviors may be less predictable to other motorists, producing a negative effect on the traffic system. Thus, it is predicted that maintaining speed and lane is ideal for safety and efficiency, defined here in terms of number of model steps before an accident and difference between average actual speed and average desired speed.
  • Species Identification of Rhyacophila in Oneonta Creek

    Heilveil, Jeffrey; Kletzel, Mackenzie (2022)
    Caddisflies are aquatic insects that play an important role in food webs, for example, they are eaten by many game fish (e.g. trout, bass). They are also a critical part of nutrient cycling since they have aquatic larval stages and terrestrial adult phases. In order to quantify the importance of any one caddisfly species you have to be able to identify it. For example, in the genus Rhyacophila, some immatures aren’t associated with adults. I focused on determining which species had larvae present in Oneonta Creek. Using DNA extraction and sequencing the DNA barcoding gene cytochrome oxidase I, I found two species of Rhyacophila: R. vibox and R. minora. Rhyacophila vibox larvae have not been previously described, so I am now collaborating with Dr. Morse at Clemson University to morphologically differentiate them from other Rhyacophila larvae.
  • Development of a Life Skill and Sport Curriculum for Girls

    Griffes, Katherine; Terrell, Kelsey; Browne, Darion; Patafio, Aidan (2022)
    Getting a move on girls' sports: Empowering girls through sport and physical activity program is an initiative to get young women physically active while learning, understanding, and demonstrating life skills during and outside participation in the program. This project serves to enable young women to feel confident in their ability to participate in sports without the bias of societal views telling them what they should or should not be doing. Our current research is focusing on curriculum design, focusing on how to teach life skills, confidence, and body positivity to girls in our community as well as providing young women with outlets and resources related to healthy lifestyles that they would not have otherwise. Beyond designing the camp curriculum, we have also designed a counselor training program, helping college students understand how to teach life skills in sport. By participating in our training program, counselors will have an opportunity to learn the importance of incorporating sport and life skills into the lives of young women as well as developing strategies to use sport to promote healthy lifestyles. This is a pilot test for a recurring summer program, where we will be evaluating the effectiveness of the program. The program will be adapted based on findings from the data analysis as needed. Results will be published and presented at regional or national conferences providing additional resources for other sports practitioners. The curriculum design is based on the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility Model, helping young participants recognize how their behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes impact not only their own development, but the people around them. The curriculum will teach key concepts such as accountability, respect, communication, teamwork, confidence, self-esteem, persistence, and positive body image. By learning what these concepts mean, as well as how they can impact sport, physical activity, and daily life, we hope to instill into our participants' strategies to help them be positive members of society. Teaching these skills through a sports lens should give the participants confidence and joy in living a healthy lifestyle. The camp counselor curriculum will focus on how to implement these skills, including positive modeling, how to give feedback, and learning how to utilize teachable moments in sport settings. We will collect data from the counselors before and after their curriculum implementation, in order to see what their current views on life skills are, and how their views change or grow based on what they learned through our curriculum.

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