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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Adapting Cell-Free Protein Synthesis As A Platform Technology For Education, Grace W. Chu, Max Z. Levine, Nicole E. Gregorio, Javin P. Oza Oct 2018

Adapting Cell-Free Protein Synthesis As A Platform Technology For Education, Grace W. Chu, Max Z. Levine, Nicole E. Gregorio, Javin P. Oza

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) has emerged as an enabling biotechnology for research and biomanufacturing as it allows for the production of protein without the need for a living cell. Applications of CFPS include the construction of libraries for functional genomics and structural biology, the production of personalized medicine, and the expression of virus-like particles. The absence of a cell wall provides an open platform for direct manipulation of the reaction conditions and biological machinery. This project focuses on adapting the CFPS biotechnology to the classroom, making a hands-on bioengineering approach to learning protein synthesis accessible to students grades K-16 through ...


Influence Of A Guanidine Riboswitch In Bacterial Cells, Erik S. Timsak, Jefferey A. Kimbrel, Chris S. Ward, Rhona K. Stuart, Michael P. Thelen Aug 2018

Influence Of A Guanidine Riboswitch In Bacterial Cells, Erik S. Timsak, Jefferey A. Kimbrel, Chris S. Ward, Rhona K. Stuart, Michael P. Thelen

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Bacteria live in environments containing complex ecologies of other microbes that communicate and survive through the action of a variety of small metabolic compounds. One common yet relatively unstudied metabolite is guanidine. Although it can be toxic to cells, recent studies have revealed that guanidine may function as a cellular metabolite through a specialized RNA sequence known as a riboswitch. Within our overall project on improving algal productivity, the focus of this study is to: (a) describe various guanidine riboswitch sequences in bacteria that interact with biofuel producing algae; and (b) determine if guanidine has a positive or negative influence ...


Tof-Sims Analysis Of Plant Seed Interactions With Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria, Tammy Pheuphong, Rachel Komorek, Xiao-Ying Yu Aug 2018

Tof-Sims Analysis Of Plant Seed Interactions With Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria, Tammy Pheuphong, Rachel Komorek, Xiao-Ying Yu

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

The use of time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) in plant biology is a relatively unexplored and quickly developing field. The majority of research in plant SIMS involves the application of ToF-SIMS to study dried wood tissues, and only a handful of studies apply SIMS on plant stems, roots, and/or seeds. Our project provides a brief description and review of previous work using SIMS on plant stems, roots, and/or seeds, along with an emphasis on the sample preparation in each study. Additionally, the use of Brachypodium distachyon (Brachypodium) as a model system for research on grasses has also ...


Implementation Of Planetary Protection Requirements On Robotic Missions, Lauren M. Tran Jan 2018

Implementation Of Planetary Protection Requirements On Robotic Missions, Lauren M. Tran

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

NASA has developed mandatory planetary protection requirements for all outbound and inbound space missions beyond Earth orbit. Planetary Protection policies are set by COSPAR (Committee of Space Research) under the international provisions of the United Nation’s OST (Outer Space Treaty). It aims to promote responsible scientific exploration of the solar system, as well as support the study of chemical evolution and origins of life that may be present. All robotic missions must be categorized depending on their planetary destination and the mission type (flyby, orbiter, or lander). Round trip missions are all classified as Category V missions (restricted or ...


Spatial And Temporal Heterogeneity Of Microbial Life In Artificial Landscapes, Roopkamal Kaur, Aditi Sengupta, Peter A. Troch Sep 2017

Spatial And Temporal Heterogeneity Of Microbial Life In Artificial Landscapes, Roopkamal Kaur, Aditi Sengupta, Peter A. Troch

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

The Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO) project at Biosphere 2 consists of three replicated artificial landscapes which are sealed within a climate-controlled glass house. LEO is composed of basaltic soil material with low organic matter, nutrients, and microbes. The landscapes are built to resemble zero-order basins and enables researchers to observe hydrological, biological, and geochemical evolution of landscapes in a controlled environment. This study is focused on capturing microbial community dynamics in LEO soil, pre- and post-controlled rainfall episodes. Soil samples were collected from six different positions and at five depths in each of the three slopes followed by DNA extraction ...


Identification Of Microorganisms Isolated From Mars-Bound Spacecraft Using Maldi-Tof, Melanie K. Phillips Sep 2016

Identification Of Microorganisms Isolated From Mars-Bound Spacecraft Using Maldi-Tof, Melanie K. Phillips

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

The primary goal of the Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group (BPPG) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is to prevent microbial contamination between Earth and other planetary bodies. This helps preserve the ability to study other worlds as they exist in their natural states and protects our biosphere from extraterrestrial life. The process for identifying microbes located on space-bound hardware in JPL can be more efficient and precise by using the technique called matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization time of flight (MALDI-TOF). Once this identification technique is fully implemented, the process time will be reduced from two weeks to one ...


Investigating The Infection And Persistence Of Sindbis Virus In Host Neurons, Gavin Schroter, Sally Hall, Monica Borucki Aug 2016

Investigating The Infection And Persistence Of Sindbis Virus In Host Neurons, Gavin Schroter, Sally Hall, Monica Borucki

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Sindbis virus, an Alphavirus in the Togaviridae family, is an enveloped, single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus. Found mostly in parts of Africa, Australia, Egypt, Philippines, and Northern Europe – it is known to cause Ockelbo or Pogosta disease [1]. This disease is characterized by the sudden onset of fever, headache, and arthralgia; followed by arthritis, rash, fatigue, and muscle pain. The symptoms are gone within 14 days, though cases have shown joint pain to last from 12 months to 2 and a half years [4]. Common to several other viruses, Sindbis is transmitted from birds (its reservoir) to humans via an arthropod ...


How Many Particles Are Present In The Air? Bioaerosol Detection Using An Air Particle Counter, Angie Pamela Rivera, Parag Vaishampayan Aug 2015

How Many Particles Are Present In The Air? Bioaerosol Detection Using An Air Particle Counter, Angie Pamela Rivera, Parag Vaishampayan

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Relative cleanliness in terms of particle abundance in spacecraft assembly facilities is determined by particle counts carried out in clean rooms during resting conditions. Particle counters assess total particles and particle size distribution, but do not distinguish inert particles from biological particles, which may include bacterial spores that are resistant to standard cleanroom sterilization procedures. Current cleanroom certifications do not fully assess the effects of human presence on spacecraft contamination since humans are known symbionts to enumerate microorganisms and assessments are performed at rest when there is no human presence. In this study, contamination risks and bioburden in spacecraft assembly ...


Collecting Diverse Microorganisms From Rover Spacecraft, Jennifer I. Jacobs, Arianna Jefferson, Heidi Aronson, James Tan, Wayne Schubert, Parag Vaishampayan Aug 2015

Collecting Diverse Microorganisms From Rover Spacecraft, Jennifer I. Jacobs, Arianna Jefferson, Heidi Aronson, James Tan, Wayne Schubert, Parag Vaishampayan

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

. The Planetary Protection discipline at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory develops and implements procedures to prevent both forward and backward contamination between the Earth and solar system bodies. However, there will always be some microorganisms that will be resistant to the strictest of sterilization methods. In order understand the microorganisms found on spacecraft during assembly, and to rapidly identify them, a mass spectrometry approach was developed. As an experimental approach, a custom database was created for a subset of microorganisms in the Planetary Protection Archive. In order to make the database as accurate and efficient as possible, several different procedures ...


The Effect Of Environmental Selection Pressure On The Rate Of Recombination To An Advantageous Receptor Mutation In Bovine Coronavirus, Gavin Schroter, Sally Hall, Mona Hwang, Monica Borucki Aug 2015

The Effect Of Environmental Selection Pressure On The Rate Of Recombination To An Advantageous Receptor Mutation In Bovine Coronavirus, Gavin Schroter, Sally Hall, Mona Hwang, Monica Borucki

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Bovine Coronavirus (BCoV) is an important analogue in understanding the effectiveness of zoonotic, single-stranded, positive sense RNA viruses. Many of the most recent viral outbreaks have been attributed to RNA viruses that have one, or more, animal reservoirs [1]. BCoV is such a great candidate for studying these types of viruses because they are from the family Coronaviridae, which also contains the viruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The goal of this study was to observe changes in genetic makeup of the virus’ outer membrane Spike protein via recombination between two BCoV ...


Towards Bioregenerative Life Support For Extended Human Exploration: Experiment Development For Testing The Fitness Of Algae In Space, Audrey Fry, R. Craig Everroad, Jessica E. Koehne, Thomas E. Murphy, Brad M. Bebout Jul 2015

Towards Bioregenerative Life Support For Extended Human Exploration: Experiment Development For Testing The Fitness Of Algae In Space, Audrey Fry, R. Craig Everroad, Jessica E. Koehne, Thomas E. Murphy, Brad M. Bebout

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Microbes such as algae and bacteria are promising candidates for supporting extended human space travel, as they are robust sources of food, fuel, waste cycling, and oxygen production. Growing microbes on membranes reduces the mass and water demands of a bioreactor system, both of which are important considerations in space travel. The European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) on the International Space Station (ISS) provides an ideal opportunity to test the effects of microgravity and other aspects of the space environment on algal growth on membranes. This project aims to find optimal growing conditions and measurement technologies that conform to the ...


Comparison Of The Promega And Kikkoman Atp Devices, Ryan Hendrickson, James Nick Benardini, Kasthuri Venkateswaran Aug 2014

Comparison Of The Promega And Kikkoman Atp Devices, Ryan Hendrickson, James Nick Benardini, Kasthuri Venkateswaran

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Planetary Protection (PP) is a scientific discipline that aims to protect other celestial bodies from microorganisms found on Earth by preventing forward and backward contamination. Forward contamination is bringing life from Earth to a given celestial body and backward contamination is preventing contamination of eventual sample return missions from Mars back to Earth. PP verifies that NASA Planetary Protection requirements are met in part via the NASA Standard Assay in order to support the launch approval process and to comply with international law. The NASA Standard Assay verifies these bioburden requirements by quantifying any aerobic, heterotrophic, and heat-shock resistant isolates ...


Growing Conditions For Algae, Angeles Mora, Tamar Melkonian, Alejandro Calderon-Urrea Aug 2014

Growing Conditions For Algae, Angeles Mora, Tamar Melkonian, Alejandro Calderon-Urrea

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

With the growing demands of water in California and the increasing cost of fossil fuels to operate water-cleaning equipment, Algae was cultivated in different concentrations of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK) during different trails to identify the best growing conditions for the removal water contaminates. Before testing algae in waste water, the Algae: Dunaliella Primolecta, Chlorella Vulgaris, and Scenedesmus Dimorphus were cultivated in four different media containing distilled water and plant vitamins. The different mediums used include: Orchid Grow More (20-20-20), Miracle Grow (30-10-10), Murashige & Skoog, and Orchid Bloom Boster (11-35-15). As a result of the investigation, the algae, Scenedesmus ...


Phylogenetic Diversity Of Microbial Isolates From The Mars Pathfinder, Kyla Bradylong, Adriana Blachowicz, Parag Vaishampayan, James N. Benardini, Wayne Schubert Aug 2014

Phylogenetic Diversity Of Microbial Isolates From The Mars Pathfinder, Kyla Bradylong, Adriana Blachowicz, Parag Vaishampayan, James N. Benardini, Wayne Schubert

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

As spacecraft are sent to different planets, they take with them microscopic pieces of life from Earth. It is the task of the Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group to keep as much of this life off other planets as possible as well as document any life that may have been sent. During the construction of the Mars Pathfinder, samples were collected from various locations on the spacecraft to test for contamination. These samples were then isolated, grown, documented, preserved and their 16S rRNA genes were sequenced for identification. The 16S rRNA gene sequence is utilized because it is a highly ...


How Clean Is The Clean Room?, Erik J. Mcfarland Jan 2014

How Clean Is The Clean Room?, Erik J. Mcfarland

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

In order to limit contamination and protect the integrity of search-for-life missions, spacecraft assembly clean rooms should be free of microorganisms to the extent that planetary protection guidelines require of the mission. This study monitored the bioburden of the clean room in which the Mars-destined InSight lander was being assembled. Samples of ten locations inside the clean room and one location outside were taken at monthly intervals, starting in March 2014 and scheduled to end in September 2014.

Bioburden was determined using qPCR and ATP analyses with qPCR targating 16S rRNA gene copy number and ATP targating metabolic activity of ...


Life Support: Long Term Storage Of Solid Waste In An Enclosed Membrane System, Emmy O. Trieu, Michael Flynn, Rocco Mancinelli Aug 2013

Life Support: Long Term Storage Of Solid Waste In An Enclosed Membrane System, Emmy O. Trieu, Michael Flynn, Rocco Mancinelli

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

In deep space missions, maintaining life support is of the utmost priority. In such a closed system, human waste must be stored and treated. Simulated feces (ersatz) will be inoculated with microbes representing normal fecal flora, mixed with urine brine and shredded refuse of products typically used in space missions. Composting methods often use alternating layers of waste with scraps of carboniferous materials (finely shredded refuse). By preparing membrane bags with a homogenized ersatz and carboniferous refuse mixture and membrane bags with alternating layers of ersatz and carboniferous refuse, it may be possible to monitor anaerobic thermophillic digestion of the ...


Testing Compounds As Sole Carbon Sources Of Strains Isolated From The Hot Lake Phototrophic Mat, Lyzbeth Becerra, Stephen Lindemann Aug 2013

Testing Compounds As Sole Carbon Sources Of Strains Isolated From The Hot Lake Phototrophic Mat, Lyzbeth Becerra, Stephen Lindemann

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Hot Lake is a meromictic, epsomitic lake. It has a phototrophic microbial mat that reassembles every year. The mat community is subjected to large fluctuations of salinity and solar irradiance. PNNL is interested in studying how these communities respond to the fluctuating environment conditions. To date, 70 isolates have been obtained from Hot Lake with the intention of characterizing their physiology to gain a better understanding of how they are naturally functioning in the Hot Lake mat community. I tested eight of these isolates in media designed to mimic the chemistry of Hot Lake with a selection of sugars, amino ...


Characterization Of Bacillus Bacterial Strains; Optimum Growth Temperature, Proteolytic And Lipolytic Activity, Jamie Anne Boring Aug 2013

Characterization Of Bacillus Bacterial Strains; Optimum Growth Temperature, Proteolytic And Lipolytic Activity, Jamie Anne Boring

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Characterization of Bacillus bacterial strains is an important step in identifying and removing biofilms contaminating processing equipment. These biofilms lead to large amounts of spores in the final product. Strains that produce spoilage enzymes cause off-flavors, structural defects and reduced shelf life of milk products. Using four treatments, we determined the best growth protocol for each strain to use in future experiments. Treatment 1: 80 o C heat shock and 32 o C 24hr incubation, Treatment 2: 80o C/ 55 o C, Treatment 3: 100 o C/ 32 o C, Treatment 4: 100 o C/ 55 o C. Our ...


Detection Of Viable Microorganisms Using Propidium Monoazide, Erik J. Mcfarland, Adrian Ponce Dr. Jan 2013

Detection Of Viable Microorganisms Using Propidium Monoazide, Erik J. Mcfarland, Adrian Ponce Dr.

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Propidium monoazide (PMA) is a molecular tool used to assess viability of microorganisms. Currently, PMA is thought to discern viability through membrane permeability; PMA enters only membrane compromised cells, irreversibly crosslinks to theirDNAand precipitates theDNAout of solution, preventing it from being amplified during polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Using PMA on a sample of live and dead microorganisms results in only theDNAof living organisms being amplified and identified. Therefore, a comparison ofPCRresults with and without PMA allows one to determine the live fraction and total population, respectively.

Current literature provides conflicting evidence as to the effectiveness of the technique. Our research ...


Optimizing Electrode Design For Microbial Fuel Cells Used For Wastewater Treatment, Lindsay Nichols, John A. Hogan Jan 2013

Optimizing Electrode Design For Microbial Fuel Cells Used For Wastewater Treatment, Lindsay Nichols, John A. Hogan

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Microbial fuel cells (MFC) utilize bacteria to generate an electrical current that can be used in the decomposition of sludge and human urine. In a MFC there is an anode (for oxidation of organic compounds), cathode (reduction of oxygen or carbon dioxide), and a proton exchange membrane (PEM, allows protons to migrate); reduction-oxidation reactions between the anode and cathode produce a measurable current. Bacteria that are found in sludge can be used to produce electrons in a voltaic cell, but optimizing conditions for harnessing the energy is crucial to making a MFC efficient. Research has shown that the ratios of ...


Simplified Microbial Mats: Unraveling A Complex Community One Alga At A Time., Donna A. Dela Calzada, Brad M. Bebout, Angela Detweiler Aug 2012

Simplified Microbial Mats: Unraveling A Complex Community One Alga At A Time., Donna A. Dela Calzada, Brad M. Bebout, Angela Detweiler

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Microbial mats are the oldest known ecosystems with an over 3.4 billion-year fossil record. Understanding their structure and function will help us better understand the biological evolution of life on early earth. They are rich in diversity (phylogenetically and physiologically) ranking amongst the most complex systems on earth. In this investigation, we aim to develop an effective method to study microbial mat organisms in relatively uncomplicated ecosystems that mimic the way they grow in nature. By growing “simplified microbial mats” on polypropylene cloth, we are able to observe the range of biogeochemical processes of a single species in a ...


Analyzing Environmental Microbes For Genomic Regions Promoting Ionic Liquid Tolerance In E. Coli, Ann Nguyen, Alison Richins, Thomas Rüegg, Steven Singer, Michael Thelen Aug 2012

Analyzing Environmental Microbes For Genomic Regions Promoting Ionic Liquid Tolerance In E. Coli, Ann Nguyen, Alison Richins, Thomas Rüegg, Steven Singer, Michael Thelen

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Ionic liquids (ILs) are promising as solvents to increase the efficiency of biofuel production; however, ILs are toxic to microbes used in the fermentation of liquid fuels. To engineer IL resistant biofuel hosts, environmental bacteria were screened for tolerance, and these were used to create gene libraries to test in E. coli. Future characterization of these libraries using molecular techniques will be used to identify genes that contribute IL-tolerance to transformed microbes.


Survival Of B. Horneckiae Spores Under Ground-Simulated, Sneha Tharayil, Parag Vaishampayan Aug 2012

Survival Of B. Horneckiae Spores Under Ground-Simulated, Sneha Tharayil, Parag Vaishampayan

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Increasing efforts to find and study habitable conditions and the possibility of life on extraterrestrial cosmic bodies have also deepened the need for planetary protection advancements to prevent possibilities of forward and backward contamination. Despite stringent precautions to ensure spacecraft cleanliness, a number of spore-forming bacteria, including the biofilm forming strain, Bacillus horneckiae have been isolated from spacecraft associated surfaces. B. horneckiae spores have demonstrated unusually high resistance to rigorous sterilization procedures, and extreme conditions, including intense UV radiation. This exceptionally high tolerance of extreme conditions demonstrated by spore-forming bacteria highlighted the need to assess the viability of these microbes ...


Efficacy Comparison Of Various Pcr Master Mixes And Thermal Cycling Parameters For Detection Of Brucella Abortus In Multiplex Assays, Kevin J. Testo, Jason A. Olivas, Alda C. Carrillo, Pejman Naraghi-Arani Jul 2012

Efficacy Comparison Of Various Pcr Master Mixes And Thermal Cycling Parameters For Detection Of Brucella Abortus In Multiplex Assays, Kevin J. Testo, Jason A. Olivas, Alda C. Carrillo, Pejman Naraghi-Arani

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Diagnostic testing for bioterrorism agents in food is essential for the safety and welfare of the general populace. Multiplex assays provide the means to test for multiple pathogen signatures with a single polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. PCR, Luminex xMAP ® infrared fluorophore bead technology, and flow cytometry, multiplex diagnostic assays are incredibly specific and sensitive to highly conserved regions at various loci in a microbe’s genome. In order to increase the effectiveness of the PCR and the resulting fluorescent response of the beads, different PCR master mix commercial kits were compared to the standard AgPath RT-PCR mix. This study ...


Growth And Hydrogen Production Of Rubrivivax Gelatinosus Cbs, Shannon A. Swanson, Karen Wawrousek Aug 2011

Growth And Hydrogen Production Of Rubrivivax Gelatinosus Cbs, Shannon A. Swanson, Karen Wawrousek

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Rubrivivax gelatinosus CBS is a purple non-sulfur photosynthetic bacterium that has been found to produce substantial amounts of Hydrogen (H2) which could be used as a clean burning biofuel. CBS has been known to grow on a variety of carbon sources, but it is unknown as to which carbon sources it has the greatest potential to use, and this understanding could be helpful in engineering future strains of the bacteria. Hydrogen production in CBS occurs when carbon monoxide (CO) is present and is presumed to be under the control of the RcoM transcription factor. When CBS wild-type strains were grown ...


Interspecies Comparison Of Αii-Spectrin Abundance Between Chinook Salmon And Steelhead, Brielle D. Kemis, Ann L. Miracle, Katie A. Wagner, Christa M. Woodley Aug 2011

Interspecies Comparison Of Αii-Spectrin Abundance Between Chinook Salmon And Steelhead, Brielle D. Kemis, Ann L. Miracle, Katie A. Wagner, Christa M. Woodley

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Salmonids, such as Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead (O. mykiss), are a staple economic, recreational, tribal, and environmental resource, yet many populations are unsustainable. This study was part of a broad scale effort to monitor the impact of downstream migration obstacles on juvenile salmonid health and survival, which is an essential step towards increasing Smolt-to-Adult Return ratios (SARs). The objective of this study was to determine if juvenile Chinook salmon and steelhead exhibit differing quantities of alphaII-Spectrin Breakdown Products (SBDPs) over two consecutive spring migration periods, indicative of neurogenesis rate and/or biological response to head injury. AlphaII-Spectrin is ...


Performance Screening Of Chemostat Adapted Recombinant Zymomonas Mobilis Strains, Deirdre M. Beard, Nancy Dowe Jan 2011

Performance Screening Of Chemostat Adapted Recombinant Zymomonas Mobilis Strains, Deirdre M. Beard, Nancy Dowe

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Corn stover biomass can be pretreaed and hydrolyzed into soluble sugars to be fermented by microorganisms to ethanol. NREL has developed a recombinant bacteria Zymomonas mobilis 8b that metabolizes both five and six carbon sugars. During pretreatment, toxic inhibitors such as furfural and acetate are produced. NREL has made an attempt to adapt two sub-strains of Z. mobilis 8b to acetate and furfural by using a chemostat method. During the chemostat process, cultures were frozen back in glycerol and saved. In this study, those frozen cultures were revived and analyzed for performance in environments with varying concentrations of furfural and ...