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Student Research Fellows Summer 2014

Evan Andrews (major: Optometry)

Faculty mentor: Amy Dinardo, Optometry

A Comparison of the Neutralization Process Amongst Various Hydrogen Peroxide Based Contact Lens Solutions.

Hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens solutions are commonly accepted as the best option for maintaining lens cleanliness and eye health. Solutions are bottled at 3% peroxide (30,000 ppm) and are neutralized to a safe concentration over a period of several hours (below a 100 ppm maximum value). This experiment compared the neutralization process of two commonly used contact lens solutions over a period of 8 hours; samples were taken every ten minutes for the first hour and at every following hour. Solutions were neutralized using the platium-disc catalyst in their supplied cases and percent remaining peroxide determined using a potassium permanganate assay (USP). Peroxiclear (a Bausch + Lomb solution) maintained a fairly high concentration of peroxide over the first hour but reached an end point within the advertised 4-5 hour period. The tested solution produced by Sauflon (bottled for Walmart under the Equate label) initially decreased in concentration more rapidly and had reached an end point by 6 hours. Due to the insensitivity of the assay, concentrations below 100 ppm could not be measured reliably; a method that compensates for this will be utilized for later testing. Despite this, a clear trend in decomposition does remain obvious throughout the whole process.

Chelsea Craig (major: BS Biotechnology, Honors Program)

Faculty mentor: Tracey Boncher, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences

The Synthesis of a Novel PPAR dual agonist to aid in Type II Diabetes.

Currently 1 out of every 3 people in the US will develop type 2 diabetes, which makes research of novel therapeutics for insulin sensitivity imperative. PPAR agonists (especially dual γ/δ agonists) are a valuable drug class that deserves recognition and expansion. Dr. Boncher’s previous research has already proven we can create a novel dual PPARγ/δ agonist (compound 9) that will help increase insulin sensitivity without the damaging side effects associated with full PPARγ agonists. By increasing the length of a hydrophobic linker chain in compound 9 from 3 carbons to 5- and 6-carbons, we believe we can increase binding affinity to both isotypes and potentially create a higher potency drug compared to the original 3-carbon compound 9. Purification of 5-carbon and 6-carbon compound 9 has proved difficult, but was accomplished. A synthesis plan for a related compound (compound 8) has been made and detailed, along with the beginning steps completed

Symon Cronk (major: BS Environmental Biology)

Faculty mentor: Mark Thomson, Arts & Sciences, Physical Sciences

Addition of gypsum and its effect on pH and flavor perception in American amber ale.

Throughout time, brewers across the globe have strived to determine what truly makes a world class beer. Through experimentation at every step of the brewing process, brewers continue to develop the process. With constantly changing recipes, the addition of malted grain, water, hops and yeast will always retain the same basic process. Many of the different styles of beer we see today have origins in different regional brewing water chemistry. Each distinct style has its own pH profile through the brewing process. Many professional brewers, including Cranker’s Brewer treat their initial strike water to consistently achieve target pH values, commonly using calcium sulfate (gypsum) or phosphoric acid. In this research we have tested, analyzed and operated in both a commercial brewery environment and on a smaller home brew scale. On this smaller scale, the water chemistry was altered for an American Amber Ale with the addition of gypsum at boil. Three, 2-gallon batches, were prepared with different amounts of gypsum added to each. Results for each of the batches did not vary more than a tenth of a pH measurement. However, the SRM(Standard Reference Method) of color did darken as the additions increased. A blind taste test will reveal my final results as the batches condition in their bottles

Shane Douglas (major: BA Chemistry)

Faculty mentor: Daniel Adsmond, Arts & Sciences, Physical Sciences

An investigation of the ability of sulfisomidine to form cocrystals with carboxylic acids.

Cocrystals, defined as any multicomponent neutral molecular complex that forms a crystalline solid, are an important area of study due to various applications in industry, most notably pharmaceuticals. Sulfisomidine and sulfamethazine are anti-bacterial drugs with nearly identical structures; however, past cocrystallization experiments have shown sulfamethazine to form cocrystals readily when compared to sulfisomidine that generally does not form cocrystals. Later work with sulfamethazine has shown that by using an ideal solvent to decrease the solubility differences and by increasing the starting amount of the more soluble component; cocrystals formed that previously had not. In our research, these conditions were applied to sulfisomidine that was expected to enhance cocrystallization abilities. A starting ratio of 4:1(acid: drug) with twenty-two mono-substituted benzoic acids in solutions of 80/20 methanol/water and 60/40 acetonitrile/water cocrystals systems was generally used. After several days of evaporation, these solutions usually produced crystalline solids. Solids were analyzed by infrared spectroscopy for shifts in the absorbance of functional groups, and by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to determine the ratios of components. Sulfisomidine formed cocrystals under these conditions with eleven of the twenty-two acids.

Brian Hull (majors: BA Chemistry, AAS Industrial Chemistry Technology)

Faculty mentor: Peter Balanda, Arts & Sciences, Physical Sciences

Towards the synthesis of Bisbenzoxazoles from Resorcinol.

In the current market, polymers are a commodity that is rising in both use and efficiency. The industrially made polymer Zylon ® is a commonly used, highly conjugated, rigid-rod polymer with currently confined roles within the public markets. Its production relies on the classical process of nitration to produce an atmospherically unstable, intermediary species diaminodihydroxybenzene (DADHB) that must then be further processed. The goal of the research was primarily to create an alternative, less noxious method for the production of the intermediate through the use of amide functional groups. By using and combining existing methods, the process has been reduced to an unrefined, one-pot method synthesis of the more stable (4,6-dimethoxybenzene-1,3-diyl)-bisoctanamide. Upon production, routes were explored to modify and conform the material to the current polymer production process. Based upon the developed methodology, future explorations shall be made toward perfection of the method as well as to develop unique, but structurally similar, materials for scientific advancement.

Cierra Kemppainen (majors: BS Forensic Biology, BA Chemistry, AAS Industrial Chemistry Technology)

Faculty mentor: Daniel Adsmond, Arts & Sciences, Physical Sciences

An Investigation of the ability of dibenzylsulfoxide to form cocrystals with carboxylic acids and phenols.

A cocrystal is a crystalline structure made up of two or more compounds in a definite ratio. In the fall Dr. Adsmond will be taking a sabbatical to research the ability of carboxylic acids with phenols to form ternary cocrystals. Ternary cocrystals are cocrystals made up of three compounds in a definite ratio. My research is preliminary research that will be continued in Ireland. I explored the ability of dibenzyl sulfoxide to form binary cocrystals with 10 different compounds that contain a carboxylic acid and a phenol. Data from over 85 experiments was collected and analyzed via infrared spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance. From these experiments, one compound formed a cocrystal with dibenzyl sulfoxide. In this talk we will discuss the history of dibenzyl sulfoxide, influence of solvents, and the ability of dibenzyl sulfoxide to form cocrystals in future experiments.

Jacob Longenecker (major: BS Biotechnology, Honors Program)

Faculty mentor: Mark Thomson, Arts & Sciences, Physical Sciences

Determining typical pH ranges throughout the brewing process for brown ale and American pale ale style beers.

The brewing process is affected by numerous factors, one of which is pH. Many of the biological processes that occur during brewing do so most efficiently in a specific pH range. This project set out to determine what the typical pH range was for each step of the brewing process. Research focused on two styles of beer, employing multiple recipes for each style. Each batch used the same method for each one, altering only the grain ratios and hop amounts. Measurements for each batch will be discussed in an attempt to indicate appropriate ranges for the two styles indicated.

Mia Miles (major: Pharmacy)

Faculty mentor: Kim Hancock, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences

The Impact of Dietary Modification on Ketoconazole Dissolution within a Gastric Bypass Model

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) is becoming increasingly utilized for the treatment of obesity. RYGB surgery reduces the size of the stomach by creating a small stomach pouch that is 30 mL in size and reduces acid production in the stomach. Reduced acid production causes the pH of the stomach to increase, altering the dissolution of drugs that require a low stomach pH to dissolve and leading to poor drug absorption Ketoconazole, a drug known to depend on the acidic environment of the stomach to dissolve, was used as a model drug compound to study the effect of altering bariatric gastric pH with acidic diet or dietary supplements in an in vitro bariatric dissolution model. First, the dissolution of ketoconazole was measured by simulating the condition in which the patient took the ketoconazole with an acidic beverage, diet cola. The second dissolution study simulated the condition in which a patient took ketoconazole with an acidic compound, ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Dissolution of ketoconazole was improved in both simulations. This suggests that the decrease in pH accompanying the administration of diet soda or ascorbic acid may be responsible for the increased ketoconazole dissolution.

Cameron Shoemaker (major: BS Criminal Justice)

Faculty mentor: Jennifer Johnson, Arts & Sciences, Social Sciences

Assessing the Urban Heat Island of Big Rapids, Michigan.

This study examines the urban heat island throughout the city of Big Rapids, MI, and how it differs with natural and anthropogenic factors. In this study, 28 HOBO Pro V2 temperature and relative humidity sensors were placed in radiation shields all around the city of Big Rapids and in the rural settings beyond it. Data collection began June 20, 2014 and will continue until the summer of 2015. The data being presented will be from June 20 through July 31, 2014.According to previous publications, small cities have less intense urban heat islands, which may even be non-existent at certain times. Although not a large city, Big Rapids does have a distinct urban heat island. The strongest intensities are typically noticeable from 1:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m., with more than a 7ºF difference under the right meteorological conditions. By calculating cooling degree days, we are able to show the difference in cost for cooling a home located in an urban area compared to the cost for a similar home in a rural area. With small cities outnumbering the amount of large cities in the world, our results show that small urban heat islands can be very significant and should not be overlooked by researchers or city planners.

Gabrielle Smiley (major: Optometry)

Faculty mentor: Amy Dinardo, Optometry

Investigation of the common factors that contribute to multifocal contact lens dissatisfaction.

All of the factors that lead to optimal multifocal lens performance, and ultimately patient satisfaction, remain elusive. This research was predominantly focused on gathering information about dissatisfied multifocal contact lens users. This data was used to compare with a previous study that was designed to determine common factors among successful wearers. Using both sets of data, commonalities and differences were examined. Personality, history of use, and quality of life surveys were collected between both sets of patients. A clinical examination of the patient included various methods of visual acuity assessment, wavefront aberrometry, topography, pupil size, refraction, and a contact lens and corneal health assessment. Successful and unsuccessful patients alike shared highly motivated personalities and little concern for the initial and ongoing costs. It was found that while both sets of patients shared high visual demands, unsuccessful patients had significantly lower intermediate and near visual ratings. In addition, a specific type of visual distortion, coma, was higher in the unsuccessful patient population compared to the successful population. In conclusion, more analysis is required in order to determine how physiological factors such as pupil size and the optical qualities related to contact lens design interact to impede near and intermediate vision.

Diane Taylor (major: BA Chemistry)

Faculty mentor: Peter Balanda, Arts & Sciences, Physical Sciences

Towards the synthesis of Bisbenzaxazoles from Hydroquinone.

Polymers are very important to today’s society because they make up such things as; plastics, rubber, cell phone screens, etc. By finding ways to create new polymers, the door opens to the many possibilities of their uses, and also makes current technologies more efficient. This project was designed to lead towards synthesizing new, potentially semi-conductive polymers, with the initial series of reactions performed in a single reaction vessel. The main focus of this summer’s research was in trying to synthesize aryldiamides based on hydroquinone, to attach the desired halogen substituents in the preferred positions on the ring, and to close the rings to create benzoxazoles, all within one reaction pot if possible. The results from the work in the lab were: aryldiamides were formed using 1,4-dimethoxy benzene to stabilize products, halogenation proved elusive due to sterics, and the bezoxazole was not formed due to lack of time. However, results show that the benzoxazoles can be obtained with added time. Once the benzoxaxoles are formed, future research can be used to obtain the polymerization products, and to discover the different applications of these new polymers.

Jacqueline Tieu (major: BS Biology)

Faculty mentor: (Mary) Beth Zimmer, Arts & Sciences, Biological Sciences

The Effect of Spinal Cord Injury on Learning and Memory

Spinal cord injury (SCI) significantly impairs motor and sensory function below the site of injury. Recently, studies have shown that SCI also affects areas above the injury such as the hippocampus; a region that is primarily involved in learning and memory. In previous studies, we showed that SCI causes impairment in memory formation in rats. In this study, we hypothesized that the amount of injury would correlate with the degree of memory impairment. We also hypothesized that memory impairment was due to reductions in serotonin levels and neurons in the hippocampus. We collected brain and spinal cord tissues from rats with SCI and sham controls and embedded them in paraffin to make slides Slides were stained with hematoxylin and eosin, and examined for serotonin levels. Results showed that a larger size of injury correlated with a greater memory impairment. We also found that SCI rats had a greater number of neurons in various regions of the hippocampus. Finally, we are in the process of examining the amount of serotonin in the hippocampus. The results indicate that spinal cord injury causes changes in hippocampus structure.