Health Sciences – UROP Summer Symposium 2021

Health Sciences

Tissue Crosstalk in Joint Injury

Post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) is a serious disease that results from joint injury. It is characterized by cartilage deterioration, synovial inflammation, and the formation of abnormal bone growths. The Wnt signaling pathway is an important biological process by which cells respond to external stimuli. Overactive Wnt signaling within the joint is known to take part in the progression of PTOA. R-spondin 2 is a protein secreted by cells into the extracellular matrix that functions as an agonist for the Wnt signaling pathway. While R-spondin 2 is known to activate Wnt signaling, little is known about its role in PTOA. Here, we aimed to better understand the contribution of R-spondin 2 in the overactivation of Wnt signaling and how this process contributes to PTOA pathology. We hypothesized that, given the pathological role of unchecked Wnt signaling in OA, adding additional R-spondin 2 would exacerbate joint degeneration in a mouse model of PTOA.

Analysis of COVID-19 Vaccine-associated Blood Clot Adverse Event Case Reports

Background: While COVID-19 vaccines are generally safe, they are occasionally associated with various adverse events (AEs). Recently the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (i.e Johnson and Johnson vaccine) has been reported to be significantly associated with blood clot, or thrombosis. The CDC/FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) has continuously collected various vaccine adverse events reported from the USA.

Investigating the role of glucose metabolism in oncogenic STAT3 signaling in colorectal carcinoma

Via the article Colorectal cancer statistics, 2020, approximately 147,950 individuals were diagnosed with Colorectal Carcinoma (CRC) and 53,200 died from the disease in 2020. CRC, like many other cancers, activates signaling pathways to become more aggressive and deadly. STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription) is a signaling pathway that promotes cell growth during normal development and cancer. The Shah lab has previously discovered that the STAT3 pathway plays a major role in promoting CRC growth. Interestingly, some CRC cell lines, like SW480 and HCT116, have high levels of p-STAT3 (a marker of STAT3 pathway activation) at baseline (without ligand stimulation). The Shah lab also found that glucose deprivation, but not the removal of amino acids or serum, decreased the activation of the STAT3 pathway in HCT116 and SW480 cells. We wanted to further explore the STAT3 signaling pathway in CRC cells and the interactions between signaling and metabolites in the CRC environment.

The experiences of rheumatic disease patients when deciding to get the COVID-19 vaccine: a qualitative analysis

Background: Little is known about how the COVID-19 vaccine affects people with rheumatic diseases. Though rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) are relatively common, patients with RMDs were not included in randomized controlled trials for COVID-19 vaccines. People that live with rheumatic conditions must consider how to handle immunomodulatory medications during the vaccine cycle and the tradeoffs they may be making between their condition, immune response, and possible side effects. We aim to describe the factors considered by this population when deciding to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Characterization of the Tumor Immune Microenvironment in Sarcoma

Intro: In recent years, the advancement of technology and science has led to better cancer treatments, which subsequently has resulted in increasing the chance of cancer patient survival. Immunotherapy, one of the more recent promising treatment options, works by enhancing one own’s immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapy using anti-PD1 and anti-CTLA4 checkpoint blockade has been very successful in treating patients with some malignant tumors such as melanoma, which previously did not have a clear effective systemic treatment option. Sarcoma is an overarching category of rare tumors that originates from soft tissues or bones at various parts of the body. Liposarcoma is one of the most common types of sarcoma, with the most common biological type being well-differentiated and dedifferentiated liposarcoma (WDLPS and DDLPS respectively). WDLPS and DDLPS are most effectively treated by surgery, yet even after a complete resection of DDLPS, 60% of patients develop local recurrence and 25% develop distant metastasis (secondary phase of malignant growth) within 5 years of diagnosis. The response rate to conventional chemotherapy is low so that 60% of patients with DDLPS eventually die from the disease. Despite the promising developments in immunotherapy, research focusing on the immune biology of sarcoma has been slower than other tumor types. Recently, there have been some promising reports of response to immunotherapy in a small number of liposarcoma patients, hence, there is an unmet need to better understand the tumor immune microenvironment in liposarcoma.

Progression of Cancers Driven by Liver Metastasis

Adedoyin Adebayo Pronouns: She/Her/Hers UROP Fellowship: CCSFP, Oakland Community College Research Mentor(s): Michael Green, MD, PhD and Amanda Huber, PhD Research Mentor Institution/Department: Michigan Medicine and Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs, Department of Radiation Oncology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology Department of Radiation Oncology Presentation Date: Wednesday, August 4th Session: Session 2 (4pm-4:50pm EDT) Breakout Room: …

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The mechanistic basis of anti-CD6 as a novel form for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer

Background: The use of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICIs) is limited by the induction of immune-related adverse events. CD6 is expressed by most T lymphocytes and a subset of natural killer (NK) cells, and engages the ligands CD166/ALCAM and CD318. Interrupting CD6 interaction with its ligands using UMCD6 (anti-CD6) reverses autoimmunity in mouse models of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and uveitis, due to suppression of differentiation of effector Th1 and Th17 cells. Recently, we have demonstrated that UMCD6 directly activates CD8+T and NK cells, enhancing these cells to kill breast, lung, and prostate cancer lines, even more robustly than ICIs directed to the PD-1/PD-1L pathway. We now explore the mechanisms by which UMCD6 activates NK cells while controlling the differentiation of CD4 cells.

Evaluation of Myelinating Schwann Cells in CHARGE Syndrome

CHARGE Syndrome is a multiple malformation condition that is characterized by congenital abnormalities including coloboma of the eye, heart defects, atresia choanae, retardation of growth, genital abnormalities, and ear abnormalities. A hallmark feature of CHARGE is ear abnormalities which manifest as conductive and sensorineural hearing loss and balance disorders. The primary cause of CHARGE is pathogenic variants in the gene CHD7 (Chromodomain Helicase DNA binding protein 7), which encodes an ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling protein. Loss of Chd7 disrupts development of the neural crest, a transient migratory cell population that gives rise to a variety of cell types including sensory neurons and myelinating Schwann cells of the inner ear. Given that proper myelination is essential for peripheral auditory system function, we hypothesized that pathogenic variants in CHD7 disrupt sensory neurons and myelinating Schwann cells in the cochlear spiral ganglion.

Experiences of side effects due to COVID-19 vaccination among rheumatic disease patients: a qualitative analysis.

Background: Although rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) are fairly common, individuals with RMDs were not included in the randomized control trials for COVID-19 vaccines, resulting in a lack of knowledge about the possible side effects they may face. Side effects may play a role in whether or not members of this population want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and may highlight differences in vaccine response between these individuals and the general population. We aimed to describe patients’ self-reported experiences of side effects and other treatment burdens related to COVID-19 vaccination.

A mobile contraceptive decision support tool for people with health conditions: A pilot feasibility study in primary care (The My Health, My Choice Study)

Background: Finding the right birth control can be difficult. It can be especially challenging for people with chronic conditions who may have contraindications to hormonal methods and disease-specific concerns related to reproductive health and contraception. Aims: 1) To assess the feasibility and acceptability of a novel mobile contraceptive decision tool (My Health, My Choice); 2) to explore associations between use of My Health My Choice and contraceptive use, contraceptive satisfaction, person-centered contraceptive counseling, and contraceptive self-efficacy.

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