• Engaging The Sacred : Relational Spirituality Training For Direct Support Staff At Cedar Lake Lodge / By Kate A. Anderson.

      Anderson, Kate A.
      Engaging the sacred: relational spirituality training for direct support professionals at Cedar Lake Lodge. Under the Direction of Dr. Denise Massey, Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling This doctoral project focuses on the effectiveness of Relational Spirituality training administered to the direct support professionals at Cedar Lake Lodge, an intermediate care facility for adults with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities. The effectiveness was tested through administration of a survey prior to and following a professional training session offered by the researcher. The results seem to demonstrate an increase in spiritual integration for direct support professionals who participated. The reframing of spiritual life supports as an element of recognizing the individuality of each person supported at Cedar Lake Lodge seemed to have a positive effect on professionals of various age, religious, and cultural affiliations. The expanded perspective of spiritual support holds the potential for cultivating rich, person centered care that is mutually beneficial to the people offering and receiving care in the intermediate care facility setting.
    • Enhanced Delivery Of Actives Through Skin From Patches And Formulations, And Distribution Within And Across Skin

      Puri, Ashana
      Transdermal drug delivery, an attractive alternative to other routes of delivery, allows drugs to reach the systemic circulation by traversing the skin barrier. Skin, with a surface area of 1-2 sq.m, is a readily accessible route for local as well as systemic drug delivery. However, a major challenge encountered while developing a successful topical/transdermal drug delivery system is to ensure the penetration of drugs across the outermost lipophilic and dead layer of skin, the stratum corneum, which acts as a barrier to drug delivery. Moderately lipophilic (log P of 1-3), potent, and unionized drug molecules with a molecular weight of <500 Da and melting point <250 °C, tend to diffuse passively through the skin. However, hydrophilic drugs are unable to permeate through the passive route, and lipophilic drugs have tendency of forming depots in the stratum corneum. Thus, enhancement techniques are applied to facilitate delivery of desired therapeutic or prophylactically relevant doses of such actives, topically or transdermally. In the present study, chemical strategies such as addition of penetration enhancers in the drug formulations and/or physical technologies such as microneedles, anodal iontophoresis, and ablative laser were investigated for enhancement in delivery of cosmetic (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) as well as therapeutic (3-fluoroamphetamine) and prophylactic (antiretroviral agents: elvitegravir and tenofovir alafenamide) actives, into and across skin. Also, in vitro microdialysis was explored for simultaneous quantification of vertical and lateral rate of diffusion of diclofenac sodium as model drug, in intact as well as skin microporated with microneedles and laser. Furthermore, 7-day transdermal patches of tenofovir alafenamide, including various chemical enhancers were formulated and investigated for in vitro permeation across human epidermis. Overall, the chemical and physical enhancement techniques were found to significantly enhance the skin permeation of different actives, as compared to their respective passive treatments. Also, the microdialysis studies revealed significant enhancement in lateral and vertical diffusion of diclofenac sodium in dermatomed human skin porated with microneedles and ablative laser, as compared to intact skin. Furthermore, a 7-day suspension-based transdermal patch of tenofovir alafenamide that could successfully deliver the desired HIV prophylactic dose was developed.
    • Enhancement Technologies for Delivery of Small Molecules Into and Across Skin

      Kale, Madhura; College of Pharmacy
      Transdermal drug delivery is a non-invasive route of drug administration through the skin. It offers several benefits, such as bypassing the first-pass metabolism, avoiding fluctuations in plasma concentrations, and easy termination of therapy. Furthermore, local and systemic delivery via this non-invasive route makes it patient-friendly, and this route avoids compliance issues, especially for pediatric and geriatric populations. However, although unionized drugs, having molecular weight <500 Da and moderate lipophilicity (log P 1-3) can passively permeate through the skin, larger molecules and hydrophilic drugs cannot pass through the stratum corneum, the tightly packed lipophilic layer which acts as a barrier to drug delivery. Thus, to overcome this barrier, physical enhancement techniques are applied to achieve permeation into and across the skin. Physical enhancement techniques like iontophoresis, skin microporation using microneedles or an ablative laser, and microdermabrasion have been explored for their drug delivery potential. In this study, we evaluated the topical delivery of nordihydroguaretic acid (NDGA), a compound having the potential to attenuate arsenic toxicity. Studies showed that this compound has the potential to get retained in the skin, which is the target site of delivery. Also, skin exposed to UV radiation too showed similar delivery with that of normal skin. Thus, topical delivery of NDGA is feasible for reducing arsenic toxicity. We also evaluated the topical delivery of kinetin, an antiaging phytohormone that inhibits senescence in plants and helps increase catalase activity. We enhanced the topical delivery using two approaches: increasing the drug loading in the formulation and using microdermabrasion. Our studies showed that increasing the drug loading as well as abrading the skin led to enhancement in the topical delivery of kinetin. We also evaluated the transdermal delivery of donepezil, a cholinesterase inhibitor that is used for managing Alzheimer’s. Physical enhancement were used alone and in combination to control the delivery of donepezil. We observed that the flux profiles could be tailored successfully using a combination of skin microporation and iontophoresis, and therapeutic levels of donepezil can be delivered. In this project, we also developed an iontophoretic patch for the transdermal delivery of zanamivir. A conducting crosslinked chitosan membrane was formulated that, upon hydration, can conduct current. Prophylactic levels of zanamivir were delivered transdermally with this iontophoretic patch. Thus, we successfully delivered pharmaceutical actives across the skin using passive and physical enhancement techniques that have the potential to manage diseases and help patients lead better lives.
    • Epstein-barr Virus Viral Protein Lmp1 Increases Rap1 Sumoylation, Enhancing Telomere Maintenance During Tumorigenesis

      Cramblet, Wyatt Tyler
      Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the USA, and there are multiple avenues of study to decipher how to combat the disease [1]. One approach in cancer treatments is to attack the tumor’s ability to replicate indefinitely. Normally healthy cells can only replicate a finite number of times before reaching their senescence limit due to loss of telomere DNA. During tumorigenesis, cells must gain the ability of maintaining chromosomal telomeres through continuous cycles of replication. Two mechanisms by which telomeres can be maintained are through activation of the telomerase complex and alternate lengthening of telomeres (ALT), a telomerase-independent mechanism that uses homologous recombination to maintain telomere length. Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), a ubiquitous ϒ-herpesvirus, establishes a life-long latent infection within the host, and latent EBV infections are linked to the development of several epithelial and lymphoid malignancies. The principal viral oncoprotein is latent membrane protein-1 (LMP1). Early during the establishment of latency, EBV relies on ALT for maintaining telomeres [2]. However, telomerase-dependent telomere maintenance is observed in EBV-associated lymphomas. Understanding how and when the switch from ALT/telomerase-independent to telomerase-dependent telomere maintenance occurs could open new paths to the prevention or treatment of EBV-associated lymphomas. We focused on the Human Repressor Activator Protein 1 (RAP1) because it is involved in both telomerase-independent and telomerase-dependent telomere maintenance. We hypothesize that LMP1 CTAR3 induces the SUMOylation of RAP1, which contributes to LMP1-mediated oncogenesis through the maintenance of telomeres initially by ALT processes before switching to telomerase-dependent telomere elongation. Here we show conditions for telomerase-independent telomere maintenance improve when LMP1 induces the SUMOylation of PML and increases formation of PML nuclear bodies. We also show LMP1 blocks the interaction of PML with RAP1 while also increasing RAP1 association with SUMO proteins and telomerase activity. RAP1 point mutants that prevent the increased association of RAP1 with SUMO proteins also demonstrated a decrease in telomerase activity in conjuncture with increased association with PML. This data confirms that LMP1 contributes to maintaining telomeres, which not only aids EBV latency but also tumorigenesis. By better understanding how LMP1 affects telomere maintenance via its interaction with RAP1 we may discover novel therapies to prevent LMP1-mediated tumorigenesis.
    • Establishing a School Counselor Program Evaluation Taxonomy: The Contribution of Proposed Competencies to School Counselor Data Beliefs and Practices

      Beasley, Jordon J; College of Professional Advancement
      JORDON J. BEASLEY ESTABLISHING A SCHOOL COUNSELOR PROGRAM EVALUATION TAXONOMY: THE CONTRIBUTION OF PROPOSED COMPETENCIES TO SCHOOL COUNSELOR DATA BELIEFS AND PRACTICES Under the direction of MORGAN KIPER RIECHEL, PH.D The purpose of this study was to further investigate the relationship between the instruments identified by Köse and developed by Maras et al. (2013), Astramovich (2016), and Dimmitt et al. (2007) to provide validation to the proposed taxonomy of program evaluation competencies for school counselors. Theoretically, these instruments should be highly correlated as they all claim to measure some aspect of program evaluation competencies among school counselors. To date, no research has been conducted to establish construct or criterion validity among these instruments. Furthermore, this study sought to determine if a predictive model could be created to predict school counselor program evaluation competence based on the school counselor program evaluation field-specific, technical and non-technical competencies outlined in Maras et al. (2013), Astramovich (2016), and Dimmitt et al. (2007). With a sample population of 145 professional school counselors currently employed in one southeastern state, this study used correlational research design to determine the relationship between the independent instruments. Further, the study utilized linear multiple regression analysis to determine if a model could be created to predict the contribution of the field-specific, technical and non-technical competencies outlined in the Effective Practices Survey (Maras et al., 2013), the Program Evaluation Interest and Skills Assessment (Astramovich, 2016), and the Evidence Based School Counseling Self-Assessment (Dimmitt et al., 2007) be developed to predict school counselor data beliefs and practices. Results of the correlational analyses indicated significant, positive relationships between the independent instruments further establishing criterion validity for these instruments as valid measures of program evaluation competence. Results from the linear regression indicate that these instruments account for 59.4% of the variance in school counselors’ data beliefs and practices regarding data usage. Further, these findings establish construct validity for the EPS, PEISA, and EBSCP-SA. Results and implications for the field of school counseling and school counselor education are discussed. Limitations for the study and suggestions for future research are also presented.
    • Ethanol Induced Dysregulation Of The Psycho-neuro-immune Network

      Abney, Sarah Elizabeth
      Alcohol is one of the most harmful substance to the user and others that can be readily abused compared to other drugs (heroin, methamphetamine, etc.). In this study, we evaluated the roles of specific cytokines in the pathology of acute alcohol consumption in animal models. Two groups of NIH Swiss mice were treated IP with 1.8 g/kg (group A) and 3.0 g/kg of ethanol (group B) for 3 days. Controls (group C) were treated with saline. Tissue specific gene expression of key signal transducers, inflammatory cytokines, and their receptors (R) were evaluated with qPCR. Systemic cytokine levels were evaluated with flow-cytometry. Significantly higher gene expression of STAT-4, -5A -6 was observed in brain tissues of Group A animals compared to Group B. Compared to control animals, Group A animals exhibited increased gene expression of the T-bet and CXCL2(MIP2) in brain tissue. Splenic tissue of ethanol treated animals showed significant decreased gene expression of STATs, but increased gene expression of inflammatory cytokines TNFα and CXCL2. Plasma level of IL1 and CCL2(MCP1) were significantly higher in the Groups A and B compare to control animals. Subsequent study animals were treated similarly with ethanol agonist, Beta caryophyllene oxide (BCPO; Group O), to counteract alcohol-induced substance seeking behavior. BCPO treatment led to significant increase of plasma levels of TNFα, IFNγ, CCL2, IL23, and IL10 compared to Group A; and TNFα, IFNγ, IL10 and IL23 compared to Group C. This data suggests that alcohol consumption even with minimal doses leads to systemic inflammation and unequally affects systemic and tissue-specific cytokine equilibrium.
    • Evaluation Feedback And Its Influence On Teachers' Instruction

      Gates, Jennifer A
      This qualitative case study explored the perceptions of teachers and principals about teacher evaluation feedback and its influence on teacher instruction. Four dyads, each consisting of one principal and one teacher, participated at the elementary and middle school levels of a large-sized, suburban school district. Four research questions included exploring the nature of evaluation feedback from the principal to the teacher; principals’ and teachers’ perception of the evaluation feedback process; and feedback’s role in helping teachers construct understanding about their teaching and their perception about their performance. Interviews, observation, document review and analysis were conducted. The theoretical frameworks underpinning the study include a blending of Mezirow’s transformative learning theory (1978), Kegan’s constructive-developmental theory (1982), and Drago-Severson’s conceptual model of pillar practices (2006). I proposed that feedback would be an effective and noticeable part of the evaluation process and teachers’ success. I also theorized that Drago-Severson’s (2006) holding environment would be found in several of the participants’ environments, created by the principal to ensure teacher success and student achievement as a result of strong teacher instruction and performance. The data showed that one of the four dyads participating in the study had a research-based and supported evaluation environment, which included feedback given to teachers by their principal to improve their performance and meet the criteria of Drago-Severson’s (2006) holding environment. All principals believed theirs to be an effective, feedback-oriented, and supported environment; only one of the teachers believed that their principal provided accurate or effective feedback as part of the evaluation process.
    • Evaluation Of Cellular Function And Select Biomarkers In An Adolescent Chronic Restraint Stress Animal Model Of Depression / By Martha Graham.

      Graham, Martha
      Depression is a highly prevalent mental illness, characterized by both psychological and physiological symptoms. It generates considerable personal and socioeconomic difficulties, and disproportionately affects women. This project’s aim was to utilize the adolescent chronic restraint (aCRS) animal model of depression to investigate the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway, and biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation, to elucidate potential pathophysiological mechanisms of depression. Reproductively intact female Sprauge-Dawley rats were divided into four groups – not-restrained:saline (NRSAL), not-restrained:desipramine (NRDES), restrained:saline (RSAL), and restrained:desipramine (RDES). All rats were postnatal day (PND) 26 upon arrival. Animals entered the restraint period at PND 34(±1) and began treatment with subcutaneous injections of 0.9% saline or desipramine (5 mg/kg) at PND 55(±1). Following the last day of treatment at PND 69(±1), animals were subjected to locomotor activity and the forced swim test (FST). Sacrificing was via decapitation. The hippocampus (HIP) and frontal cortex (FCX) regions of the brain were harvested for western blot analysis. Trunk blood was also collected for serum separation. Western blot analysis was conducted on HIP, FCX, and serum samples. HIP and FCX samples were probed with ERK, pERK, and superoxide dismutase (SOD) primary antibody. Serum samples were probed with C-reactive protein primary antibody. RSAL animals exhibited significantly more immobility behavior in the FST than the NRSAL group, and aCRS-induced immobility was attenuated by antidepressant treatment with desipramine. Significantly lower levels of ERK1/2 activation and SOD expression were observed in the FCX compared with the HIP, but none between groups. Correlation analyses revealed relationships between some of the western blot and behavioral testing data points (e.g., RDES serum CRP expression is positively correlated to FST swimming), as well as between various western blot analysis data points (e.g., HIP SOD expression is positively correlated to HIP ERK1 expression). The purpose of this study was to broadly investigate cellular dysfunction and potential biomarkers of depression using the aCRS model. The results from this research could serve as starting point for investigators to utilize the aCRS model for more in depth examination of the involvement of signal transduction, oxidative stress, and inflammation with the pathophysiology of depression.
    • Evaluation Of Free-fatty Acid Receptor-4 (ffa4) On Modulation Of Ros Generation And Cox-2 Expression Via The C-terminal β-arrestin Phosphosensor

      Cheshmehkani, Ameneh
      Agonism of the G-protein coupled free-fatty acid receptor-4 (FFA4) has been shown to promote numerous anti-inflammatory effects in macrophages that arise due to interaction with β-arrestin partner proteins upon the receptor phosphorylations. Humans express functionally distinct short and long FFA4 splice variants, such that FFA4-S signals through both Gαq/11 and β-arrestin, while FFA4-L is intrinsically biased solely towards β-arrestin signaling. Recently, we (and others) have shown that phosphorylation of the FFA4-S and FFA4-L C-terminal tail is responsible for β-arrestin intractability and signaling. However, there is no apparent phosphorylation or arrestin recruitment in the C-terminal truncated mutant FFA4-L-Δ356, indicating that the C-terminal of FFA4-L plays a critical role in β-arrestin recruitment. Given the significance of β-arrestin in FFA4 anti-inflammatory function, the first objective of this study was to examine the role of the C-terminal β-arrestin phosphosensor in FFA4-S and FFA4-L signaling. To reach this objective, we employed PMA induced COX-2 expression, LPS induced NF-κB activity, and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in murine Raw 264.7 macrophages. The second objective was to assess the role of dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on FFA4 anti-inflammatory effect. To reach this objective, we supplemented rat diets with fish oil and flaxseed oil, and studied the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α release in the rat colon. Our data reveal for the first time that both FFA4 isoforms modulate PMA-induced ROS generation, and that abolishment of the FFA4-S but not FFA4-L C-terminal phosphosensor, is detrimental to this effect. Furthermore, we show that while both isoforms reduce PMA-induced expression of COX-2, removal of the FFA4-S phosphosensor significantly decreases this response, suggesting that these effects of FFA4-S are β-arrestin mediated. On the contrary, FFA4-S, as well as the truncated C-terminal congener lacking the β-arrestin phosphosensor were both able to reduce LPS-induced NF-κB activity and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. However, FFA4-L and its corresponding mutant were incapable of modulating either, suggesting that these responses are mediated by G-protein coupling. In this thesis, it has been shown that the agonism of FFA4-S and FFA4-L with DHA and PKC activator lead to phosphorylation. However, there is no apparent phosphorylation or β-arrestin recruitment in the C-terminal truncated mutant FFA4-L-Δ356, indicating that the C-terminal of FFA4-L plays a critical role in β-arrestin recruitment. We also showed that supplementation of diets with 10 % fish oil or flaxseed oil for a period of 7 weeks in rats facilitates up regulation of FFA4, and decreases proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α in the rat colon. Taken together, our data reveals important structure-function and signaling differences between the two FFA4 isoforms, and for the first time links FFA4 to modulation of ROS in macrophages. The anti-inflammatory effect of FFA4 agonism in rat colon is also discussed.
    • Examining Counselors' Level Of Professional Experience With Adult Attachment Style And Comfort With Emotional Intimacy / By Kenika Holloway

      Holloway, Kenika
      The purpose of this study is to determine if professional experience influences discussing emotional intimacy with clients as well as counselors’ adult attachment style and comfort with intimacy. This study recruited licensed and unlicensed professional counselors and marriage and family therapists including associate-level, master’s-level, and student/interns in both disciplines. A MANOVA was conducted to analyze the data collected from the Revised Adult Attachment Scale and Fear of Intimacy Scale. This study bridges the gap in the counseling literature in regard to counselors’ susceptibility to countertransference regarding emotional intimacy, due to their own personal adult attachment style and comfort with emotional intimacy. This study highlights the importance of counselors being more self-aware of the influence of their attachment and intimacy history.
    • Examining Teacher Dispositions Towards Teaching Spatial Thinking Through Geography

      Driver, Ian Nicholas
      The purpose of this study was to examine teacher dispositions towards teaching spatial thinking through geography. The researcher used the questionnaire variant convergent mixed methods research design to gain both quantitative and qualitative data. The participants of the study were 220 social studies teachers who teach 6th-12th grade in the state of Georgia. Each participant completed the Teaching Spatial Thinking through Geography Disposition Inventory along with three open-ended questions. The researcher analyzed the results of the of the Teaching Spatial Thinking through Geography Disposition Inventory to determine if there were any statistically significant differences in participant scores based on age, gender, teaching experience, education level, and grade level taught. The results showed no statistically significant differences. In addition, the disposition scores were analyzed to determine if age, gender, teaching experience, education level, and grade level taught predict one’s disposition towards teaching spatial thinking through geography. The results showed that age, gender, teaching experience, education level, and grade level taught are not statistically significant predictors of one’s disposition towards teaching spatial thinking. For the qualitative portion of the study, the three open-ended questions were analyzed to provide insight related to teachers’ perception of teaching spatial thinking through geography and challenges experienced related to teaching spatial thinking through geography. The results indicated that teachers perceive spatial thinking to be important but also have a sense of uncertainty about it. The results also highlighted four challenges connected to teaching spatial thinking: pressure to teach the standards, lack of time, lack of training, and lack of technology. The implications of the quantitative and qualitative results are discussed.
    • Examining The Integrity Of Teaching Strategies In A Diversely Populated Montessori Public Elementary School: A Narrative Analysis

      Ball, Tamika Nicole
      Using Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) and Cognitive Dissonance Theory (Festinger, 1957) as the theoretical frameworks alongside the metaphorical backdrop of the tip of an iceberg, this research study examined the integrity of teaching strategies public Montessori elementary school teachers used. With increased public Montessori interest and the uncertainty of aligned Montessori practices, public schools have become vulnerable to Montessori instructional strategies implemented without integrity. Data referencing public Montessori included assessment outcomes and surveys, journalistic narratives, and state quantitative studies with a limited focus on Montessori instructional practices (Lillard & Else-Quest, 2006; Lillard, 2011; Lillard, 2012; Roemer, 1998; Sparks, 2016). The gaps of research literature excluded alignment to research-based methods assessing the integrity of material usage and practices, given the need to analyze public Montessori (Lillard, 2011; Lillard, 2012). This study involved a qualitative narrative analysis, which retold the stories of two public Montessori elementary school teachers in a southeastern state’s only public charter Montessori elementary school (Feldman et al., 2004; Grbich, 2013). Findings revealed the integrity of the Montessori Method began with grace and courtesy practices guiding the school’s family culture. Inconsistent disciplinary practices caused disproportional minority out-of-school suspension percentages, revealing the need for faculty and staff to combine the school’s culturally responsive discipline practices with cultural responsive pedagogical instructional practices (Cramer, Pellegrini-Lafont, & Gonzalez, 2014). Findings revealed the school’s association with the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association (NAMTA) normalized its lead teacher training to protect the integrity of Montessori implementation. However the absence of consistent teacher assistant and substitute teacher training minimized the continuous effectiveness of the Montessori Method when lead teachers were absent. Montessori’s philosophy of following the child served as the teachers’ main instructional strategy, wherein individualized instruction sealed the integrity of Montessori Method implementation. It was recommended for future studies to explore: (a) the public Montessori curriculum in alignment to culturally responsive disciplinary and instructional practices, (b) the teacher assistant and substitute teaching training received in alignment with the NAMTA criteria, and (c) the integrity exuded in the implementation of individualized instructional strategies when teacher and student formative assessment measures were used.