Congratulations to the 2018 Department of Environmental Science Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Achievement outstanding poster presenters! Students presented their research during URSA Scholar’s Week on March 28 & 29, 2018. From left to right, those included in the photograph are: Dr. George Cobb (Environmental Science Professor and Department Chair), Marina George Mulenos, Madison Stewart, Saskia Henery, and Dr. Christie Sayes. Winners not pictured include: Andreanna Burman, Liana DeNino, Grace Hutchinson, Julia Frandesen, Jonah Salazar, Clark Coneby, Hannah Dye, Jasmine Stovall, Dr. Susan Bratton, and Dr. Trey Brown. We are so proud of each of these hard working researchers!
The 255th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting & Exposition was held in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 18-22, 2018 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Christie Sayes attended and presented data in the Special Session: Shaping Activity through Structural Modification Small Molecules to Nanoparticles. A Symposium in Honor of Professor Bing Yan. The Program can be found here (https://plan.core-apps.com/acsnola2018/customScreen/about_show).
The theme of this year’s meeting was The Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water. This topic is relevant to The Sayes Group because Dr. Sayes, Henry, and Marina are collaborating with with Professor Virender Sharma and Dr. Vicky Liu of Texas A&M University on a unique project that studies drinking water chlorination and chloramination in the water distribution system (Release of lead (Pb), formation of disinfection byproducts (DBPs), and cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of tap water).
At the ACS conference, Christie Sayes, Ph.D. presented:
“Impact of Advanced Materials on the Formation and Toxicity of Disinfection Byproducts during Drinking Water Chlorination”
To read about this and other related work, please see:
- Sharma VK, Yang X, Cizmas L, McDonald TJ, Luque R, Sayes CM, Yuan B, Dionysiou DD. (2017). “Impact of metal ions, metal oxides, and nanoparticles on the formation of disinfection byproducts during chlorination.” Chemical Engineering Journal 317:777-792. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1385894717302358
- Adegboyega NF, Sharma VK*, Cizmas L, and Sayes CM. (2016). “UV light induces Ag nanoparticle formation: roles of natural organic matter, iron, and oxygen”. Environmental Chemistry Letters 14.3 (2016): 353-357. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10311-016-0577-z
The Society of Toxicology's 57th Annual Meeting and ToxExpo was held in San Antonio, Texas on March 12-15, 2018 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Members of The Sayes Group who attended and presented data were: Christie Sayes, Henry Lujan, Marina Mulenos George, and Andreanna Burman. Other research groups from Baylor University also attended the meeting, including Dr. Bruce’s team and Dr. Brooks’s team. The program for the conference can be found here.
The plenary speaker, Matthew H. Porteus from Stanford University, set the stage for a thought-porvoking week of exploring the utility of new tools and techniques for toxicology testing by presenting on "Developing Genome-Edited Stem Cells for Therapy of Patients: Assessing Efficacy and Toxicology". This topic is especially relevant to The Sayes Group, as Dr. Sayes was recently named a 2018 AFRL (Air Force Research Lab) Faculty Fellow and will study "Next generation toxicological model systems for advanced materials and beyond: Application of gene-editing technology”.
Presentations by The Sayes Group at the Society of Toxicology conference included:
“Contemporary Considerations: Nanomaterial Characterization, Aerosol Generation, and Exposure” by Christie M. Sayes
"Cell Cycle Alterations After In Vitro Exposure To Pegylated Gold Particles In Cancerous Vs. Non-cancerous Lung Cells” by Henry Lujan
The annual Texas Society for Microscopy (TSM) meeting is a microscopy-lover's dream conference. People from all over Texas come together to share their research, for which microscopy was one of their main tools. Dr. Sayes, Henry Lujan, and Marina Mulenos George attended this year's TSM conference, which was held in Denton, Texas on Friday, February 23, 2018.
Graduate student Henry Lujan has been a member of TSM for two years now, and he was afforded the opportunity to give a platform presentation discussing "Synthesis, Characterization, and Preservation of Submicron-Sized Liposomes as Carriers for Drug Delivery” at this year's TSM conference. His research focused on the synthesis and characterization of liposomes for RNA encapsulation. To characterize the liposomes, Henry used a myriad of microscopy techniques, including bright field microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Henry enjoyed presenting his research to other Texas microscopists and receiving valuable feedback throughout the two-day conference as well as learning more about various microscopy techniques.
"The Nikon microscopy workshop put on at the UNT Discovery Park was exciting, fun, and informational. I especially enjoyed the confocal microscope and hope to use this technique more in the near future!" -Henry Lujan
Though they were all excited to attend the TSM conference, perhaps none were as thrilled as microscopy-enthusiast, Marina Mulenos George. Marina, a current graduate student in The Sayes Group, presented a poster entitled "Elucidating Morphological Characteristics of Cellulose Materials”.
This conference was a great experience and helped each of The Sayes Group members connect with others in their field, share their research and experience, and further their knowledge and understanding of current microscopy techniques.
Erin Benton, a second-year Master's of Public Health student, is no stranger to food allergies. Erin, along with her father and brother, have all experienced at least one food allergy in their lifetime. Though she considered genetics a reason for her family's food allergy susceptibility, Erin considered other causes for these all too common afflictions. Why didn't her mom experience a food allergy? Why are some people born with allergies, while others develop them later in life? Are food allergies an emerging public health issue?
During her first semester of graduate school, Erin took an environmental health course taught by The Sayes Group founder, Dr. Christie Sayes. After listening to a lecture about how the environment has been associated with the onset of celiac disease (i.e. an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye), Erin felt inspired to further investigate the correlation between the environment and the onset of food allergies. She collaborated with Dr. Christie Sayes to write and publish a journal article in order to define the role of the environment as it relates to food allergies.
Key findings from their research:
- Food allergies diagnosed often appear in children under the age of three.
- Children tend to have more than one food allergy present at a time.
- People diagnosed are shown to have the following similarities: manifest symptom(s) at age < 20 years old, reside in industrialized environments, inflicted with predisposing health sensitivities, and originating from developed countries.
- Environmental factors that can play a role in food allergies include: ethnicity and genetics, weight, exposure to air pollution and sunlight, asthma or eczema.
- Highly urbanized areas, air pollution and food surplus will contribute to the growing environment-food allergy nexus.
- The most cited adverse human health outcomes include multiple allergies, psychological effects, and death.
- There are currently no proven methods to overcome a diagnosed food allergy, but there are known ways to overcome a sensitivity related food illness.
- Environmental factors contribute to the onset of food allergies; therefore, this epidemic could be labeled as an emerging public health issue.
You can access the journal article here: Benton EN and Sayes CM. (2017). “Environmental Factors Contribute to the Onset of Food Allergies”. Journal of Environmental Science and Public Health 1(1):35-55. Open Access (http://www.fortunejournals.com/articles/environmental-factors-contribute-to-the-onset-of-food-allergies.html).
After publishing their paper, Erin and Dr. Sayes presented their research on environmental factors contributing to the onset of food allergies at the 2017 Texas Society for Public Health Education (TSOPHE) Annual Conference in Waco, Texas. This year's TSOPHE conference focused on public health education topics relating to the advancement of population health through diversity, innovation, and collaboration. Dr. Sayes and Erin presented their research to a group of public health professionals from all over the state of Texas. Their work serves as an example of a successful collaboration between two professional sectors (i.e. public health and environmental science) to achieve a common goal (i.e. risk factors of food allergies).
Erin is expected to graduate from Baylor University with her MPH in May 2018. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Health Education and Behavioral Sciences and continue to teach health education. Her research interests include sexual health and the risk factors of food allergies.
Congratulations to Henry and Brendan for their abstract acceptances to the Inhaled Particles XII conference series this year in Glasgow, Scotland! The ultimate theme of the conference is "very much looking to the future." The conference is expected to unveil new issues, new developments and new techniques and analyses in the field of inhaled particles and how to best address them in the future.
Henry and Brendan were asked to participate in the poster presentations this year. They will each be presenting their research. Their chosen abstract titles are listed below:
"Comparing the Basal-level Inflammatory Gene and Protein Expressions of Three Normal and Three Cancer-Derived Lung Cell Lines"
"Investigating Traffic-Related Diesel Particulate Matter Exposure on the Basal Gene and Protein Expressions in Normal and Asthma-Derived Epithelial Lung Cells"
To learn more about IPXII and to review the kind of content that Pulmonary/Lung/Respiratory Health Professionals think about in 2017., click here.
Way to go Henry and Brendan!
Interview: Thomas Webster, Ph.D., chair and professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University and Christie Sayes, Ph.D., senior scientist at RTI International
Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology to modern medicine, such as using microscopic nanoparticles to deliver drugs to specific cells to help cut down the dosage and side effects. The segment discusses nanotechnology, how it’s being used in modern medicine, and how nanotechnology could shape the future of medicine.