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With a focus on learning, we employ a range of strategies to support innovation, collaboration across centers, and university-wide discussion and decision-making


Second Annual Award Winners 2001-2002

This year, there were 28 submissions from 51 faculty members representing 10 academic units in the competition. From this cohort, ten President's Faculty Scholarship Awards were given to 21 faculty members representing ten academic units for a total of $46,000. In addition to this sum of money, the deans of these schools and centers matched the $46,000 figure to bring the grand total of support for faculty research and scholarship to $92,000. The two-year total for awards given now stands at $172,000.

Dr. Scott Schatz - HPD College of Optometry
Dr. Howard Hada - HPD College of Medical Sciences
Dr. Andrew Rogerson - Oceanographic Center
Dr. Ken Seger - HPD College of Optometry

Dean David Loshin - HPD College of Optometry
Dean Harold Laubach - College of Medical Science
Dean Richard Dodge - Oceanographic Center

Project Title: Studies on Microbial Adherence to Hydrogel Contact Lens Surfaces+

Abstract: A large segment of the American and global population with refractive errors has made contact lenses their choice of vision corrective device. In fact, more than 32 million individuals are presently wearing contact lenses in the United States. Most of these individuals are wearing hydrogel or soft contact lenses, which consist of a flexible plastic that contains anywhere from 36% to 74% water. The advantage of soft contact lenses when compared with rigid gas permeable lenses is their ease of use and greater comfort for most people. A disadvantage of soft contact lenses is that proteins and lipids tend to form deposits on their surface. Moreover, these deposits together with the microorganisms inhabiting the overlying biofilm comprise the major factor leading to corneal diseases associated with contact lens wear. The microorganisms that are indigenous to the ocular tear film include bacteria and yeasts. Poor cleaning and disinfection of contact lenses, including the use of tap water, can lead to acanthamoeba infections of the cornea. The goal of the proposed studies is to examine ways to limit microbial adherence to these surface deposits and to the ocular biofilm. Our experimentation will involve the study of biofilm formation and the ability of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, sodium salicylate, to retard or alter biofilm formation on a hydrogel contact lens. We will also measure whether or not microbial growth in the biofilm and microbial adherence to the contact lens surface is reduced. Quantitative analysis of the data obtained will be performed using the Chi Square Test and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA),as well as by descriptive analysis. New information regarding the formulation for hydrogel contact lens design and disinfection systems may help to reduce the risk of infectious keratopathies

Dr. Sharon Boesl - Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dean Honggang Yang - Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Project Title: Creating and Understanding Change for High Parental Conflict

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of high parental conflict that interferes with and confounds the resolution of divorce. High conflict divorces are of particular concern when children are involved because the intense, negative interactions of these parents has been consistently linked with behavior and emotional problems in children. Court systems have begun to offer programs of services to parents aimed at reducing conflict. In the case of high conflict parents, our local judges/general masters have begun to refer parents to NSU's Family Therapy Associates for more intensive treatment. Family therapists at our center have little knowledge about the circumstances that prompt a judge to take this action because when parents are asked why the judge sent them to therapy, they report being confused by and resentful of the judge's action. In this study, my intent is to gather information and better understand the referral process and it's implications in the treatment of high conflict parents. The methodological design of this study has two components. In phase one of this study, I plan to use semi-formal focus groups. The use of focus groups is specifically chosen as a means to construct a questionnaire. The questionnaire will be distributed to family court judges/judicial officers across the state of Florida to inquire about their experiences with high parental conflict cases and what actions they are taking/not taking with regard to addressing parents' negative behavior. Phase two of this study will include distributing the survey and gathering and analyzing data from the survey. The results of this study will become an important component in a larger study where I am designing a treatment manual to guide family therapists in their clinical work with this population.

Dr. Appu Rathinavelu - HPD College of Pharmacy

Dean William Hardigan - HPD College of Pharmacy

Project Title: Standardization of Gene Expression Array Analysis Using Rapidly Growing Cancer Cells

Abstract: VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) is one of the most important biochemical factors that control cancer growth via promoting tumor angiogenesis. Understanding the mechanisms regulating angiogenesis is considered as valuable for the prognostic evaluation of cancers where angiogenesis plays a major role in both growth and metastasis. For the first time we have obtained preliminary evidence which suggests that an oncogene product called MDM2, a p53 neutralizing protein, might also control VEGF synthesis. However, we need to conduct further studies to fully explain the nature of this intracellular link. Elucidating the pathway that is linking MDM2 to VEGF production would lead to the development of new modes of cancer screening to predict tumor angiogenesis and cancer metastasis. The same findings would also help in designing gene therapy based treatment strategies. Therefore, to further establish the link between MDM2 and VEGF we have proposed a detailed study involving multiple Gene Expression Array (GEArray) analyses and requested funding from NCI. In that proposal the NCI was informed that the P.I's laboratory would be standardizing the GEArray techniques and obtain preliminary data by the end of 2001. By standardizing the GEArray techniques and developing preliminary data, the P.I.'s laboratory would be in a position to readily analyze the gene expression status in several other cancer cell lines, when NCI funds his project, and complete the proposal study within the specified time. Therefore the P.I. is requesting research funds to standardize the GEArray technique and conduct preliminary studies. The GEArray is one of newest technologies used by scientists to quickly analyze the expression status of multiple genes. The P.I. is well versed with molecular biology techniques, therefore he would be able to standardize this analysis and develop preliminary data with GI-101A breast tumor and HL-60 leukemia cells. The results would be presented in the IUBMB meeting that is going to be held in Bergen (NORWAY) on May 4-8 in 2002.

Dr. Veljko Dragojlovic - Oceanographic Center

Dean Richard Dodge - Oceanographic Center
Dean Norma Goonen - Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences

Project Title: Ruthenium Tetroxide Oxidation of Iodoalkanes

Abstract: The broad, long-term objectives of this project are to develop a methodology for ruthenium-catalyzed oxidation of haloalkanes, in particular iodoalkanes. Specific goals of the project are to develop a catalytic system for oxidation of iodoalkanes and apply it initially on simple model compounds, followed by application of the developed methodology to the synthesis of compounds of biological interest. This project will form a basis for a long-term research program. In future the work will be extended to oxidation of bromo- and chloroalkanes and, ultimately chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Data will be analyzed and interpreted according to the accepted standards in the area of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, including the American Chemical Society's criteria of identity and purity of new compounds. A publication by another research group and my preliminary work indicate that the likelihood of success is high. The results will be submitted for publication in peer reviewed journals and possibly presented at a conference. Acceptance of presentation at a conference is also subject to a peer review. The proposed project calls for involvement of two centers. While most of the work will be done at the Oceanographic Center, a significant part of the analytical work will be done at the Farquhar's Parker Science Annex. In addition, Farquhar Center's undergraduate students will have an opportunity to take part in the proposed research. After the initial results are published, an application for external funding will be made with the National Science Foundation (NSF), the American Chemical Society (ACS), or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Dr. K.V. Venkatachalam - HPD College of Medical Sciences

Dean Harold Laubach - HPD College of Medical Sciences

Project Title: Role of Acetyl CoA carboxlase-2 on the production of Malonyl CoA, the hunger signal, that controls Neuropeptide Y synthesis in Brain

Abstract: Neuropeptide Y (NPY) plays a pivotal role as a hormone that controls the feeding behavior. During hunger NPY mRNA gene expression is triggered, resulting in the production of NPY. NPY then acts in hypothalamus stimulating the feeding process. Although wealth of information is available regarding NPY and its role in hunger/feeding (1), how exactly NPY itself is controlled is poorly understood. We have two informations' that are not connected. 1) It has been reported that malony1 CoA the product of acetyl CoA carboxylase (ACC) plays a crucial role in controlling NPY production (1). 2) It has also been shown that insulin receptors are located in the brain, which upon binding with insulin stops NPY synthesis (2,3). Exactly how insulin arrests NPY synthesis in brain is not understood. After a heavy carbohydrate meal, when the glucose concentrations are high, it triggers B-cells to secrete insulin. Insulin stimulates the anabolic sequences of glycogen synthesis (in liver and muscle) and fat synthesis (in liver and adipose tissue). When the storage pools are saturated, the subsequent level of regulation is to arrest feeding. In this proposal I hypothesize that insulin crosses the blood brain barrier, binds to its receptor in the brain, and modulates the activity of ACC. ACC the forms malonyl CoA in vivo (ACC-1 and ACC- 2). ACC-2 has been proposed to be involved in the synthesis of malonyl1 CoA that plays a regulatory role during fatty acid synthesis. Thus in this study I will measure the enzyme activity of ACC-2 in the brain during hunger, well fed and under the influence of imtracerebroventricular (ICV) injection of insulin. This study will eventually result in drug designs that are targeted towards ACC-2 in controlling excess feeding.

Dr. Elisa Ginter - HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine
Dr. Joel Spalter - HPD College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dean Anthony Silvagni - HPD College of Osteopathic

Project Title: The Screening of Medical Students for Serologic Markers of Prior Infection by Hepatitis B Virus in Conjunction with the Administration of Hepatitis B Vaccine

Abstract: Immunization with hepatitis B vaccine is often done without prescreening the potential vaccine recipients for evidence of prior hepatitis B virus infection. Prior infection by hepatitis B virus is not a contradiction to the use of hepatitis B vaccine. The prevalence of hepatitis B infection, and the cost of the vaccine combine to render the strategy of immunization without prescreening less expensive than prescreening and then immunization only those without evidence of prior hepatitis B virus infection. Prescreening will diagnose chronic hepatitis B infection, for which effective therapy exists. The likelihood that prescreening will be the less expensive strategy and that prescreening will diagnose chronic hepatitis B infection is directly related to the population prevalence of prior hepatitis B virus infection. The Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine immunizes all incoming medical students with hepatitis B vaccine without prescreening. These medical students are a population more diverse that of the United States as a whole and in which the estimate of a prevalence of prior hepatitis B infection of 5 % is likely to be an underestimate. This study is a serologic screening of the incoming medical students for markers of prior hepatitis B infection. This will generate an estimate of the prevalence of chronic hepatitis B infection. Additionally, it will allow the generation of an equation (Equation 1), relating the cost benefit of surveying for markers of prior hepatitis B vaccine to demographic characteristics of the population to be surveyed. This equation will then be utilized to select the optimal economic strategy for hepatitis B immunization in a population of any degree of diversity.

Dr. Kimberly Shaw - Family Center
Dr. Roni Leiderman - Family Center
Dr. Debbie Glasser - Family Center
Dr. Carol Reed - HPD College of Allied Health
Dr. Cyril Blavo - HPD College of Allied Health

Dean Wendy Masi - Family Center
Dean Raul Cuadrado - HPD College of Allied Health

Project Title: The Attachment Assessment Project of the BABY Center

Abstract: The proposed Attachment Assessment Project of the BABY Center will examine the effect of caregiver attachment, attunement and stress on early infant-caregiver adaptation and regulation. The regulation of preverbal parent-infant communication (attunement) is considered essential for progress infant self-regulation, cognition, speech and socioemotional developmental outcome and increase the potential for child abuse and neglect. Previous research on risk factors has typically examined isolated factors and has been atheoretical. The proposed research is attachment theory-based, which has the advantage of being a comprehensive biopsychosocial model that directly informs and drives specific interventions. From this perspective, "fussing" behavior may serve important survival functions as strategies for signaling and regulating caregiver proximity and availability when a caregiver is otherwise unresponsive. Moreover the caregivers' own attachment style (i.e. their cognitive affect belief systems and interpersonal coping strategies) may impact their ability to decode and appropriately respond to infants' cues. The specific objective of the proposed project is to identify and quantify the risk of insecure attachment style and caregiver stress on the infant's self regulation and overall adaptation in infant- caregiver dyads referred for dysregulation (N=36) and non-referred dyads (N=36) matched by age of infant (6weeks to 6 months). The data will be used to inform the intervention process implemented in the Better Attachment for Baby & You (BABY) Center. This interdisciplinary diagnostic and intervention service for families with infants also serves as a training center for the Family Center, Occupational Therapy and Pediatric Medicine. Quantification of degree of risk for poor adaptation and dysregulation among young infants may lead to an emphasis on earlier identification and intervention of distressed dyads.

Dr. Grady Campbell - HPD College of Medical Sciences

Dean Harold Laubach - HPD College of Medical Sciences

Project Title: Gene Expression Profiling of Skeletal Muscle Insulin Response

Abstract: The goal of this research project is to gain understanding of the insulin signaling pathway in skeletal muscle. Microarray analysis will enable the simultaneous interrogation of 8000 genes to determine which are regulated in skeletal muscle by insulin. In addition to its role in posture and locomotion, skeletal muscle is a metabolic organ that mediates the majority of glucose homeostaasis such that energy needs of all tissues of the body are best met. Type 2 diabetes, with over ten million diagnosed cases in the United States and over 100 million worldwide, arises from defects in the insulin-signaling pathway may generate leads to develop more effective theraputic strategies. Gene expression levels of 8000 genes will be compared between the two conditions. Genes that are observed to be insulin-responsive will be placed in a theoretical framework based on their function to attempt to understand as fully as possible role of gene expression insulin signaling. This framework will suggest those genes that deserve further study to elaborate their role in insulin signal transduction. The information generated in this way will expand our knowledge of the mechanisms that underlie insulin control of skeletal muscle gene expression and their relevance to whole body energy homeostasis.

Dr. Maria Hernandez - HPD College of Pharmacy

Dean William Hardigan - HPD College of Pharmacy

Project Title: Synthesis and Biochemical Testing of Serine Protease Inhibitors

Abstract: The present proposal outlines the synthesis and biochemical testing of 10 novel inhibitors of serine protease of Trypsin-like specificity. Compounds synthesized under this proposal will be evaluated for their inhibitory activity toward trypsin, thrombin, and granzyme A. Optimization of the side chains required for inhibitory potency will be pursued using Modde 5.0 software, a windows program for the generation and evaluation of statistical experimental designs. Sculpt software will also be used to optimize the chemical properties needed for enzyme inhibition. The best inhibitors will be used to probe the role of Granzyme A in the apoptotic pathways of tumor cells and of myocytes after ischemic injury. Programmed cell death, apoptosis, involves very distinctive changes within the target cell nucleus, including margination of the chromatin, DNA fragmentation and breakdown of the nuclear envelope. Cytolytic granule-mediated target cell apoptosis is effected, in part, through synergistic action of the membrane-acting protein perforin and serine proteases, such as granzymes A or B. Cytotoxic Natural Killer (NK) and T lymphocytes (CTL) recognize and kill virally infected cells and tumor cells without affecting bystander cells. One important mechanism of killing, used by both T and NK cells, involves exocytosis of cytotoxic granules. Specific therapies designed to enhance or reduce the susceptibility of individual cell types to undergo apoptosis could form the basis for a new treatment modality of many human diseases. Granzyme inhibitors than can block apoptosis in myocytes have potential for development as therapeutic agents in the treatment of ischemic heart injury. Granzyme inhibitors also hold potential in the treatment of host-vs-graft disease, autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Publishing of this work in peer-reviewed journals and further funding for continuation of work will be sought.

Dr. Jennie Lou - HPD College of Allied Health
Dr. William Kelleher - Center for Psychological Studies
Dr. Joseph Pizzimenti - HPD College of Optometry

Dean Raul Cuadrado - HPD College of Allied Health
Dean Ronald Levant - Center for Psychological Studies
Dean David Loshin - HPD College of Optometry

Project Title: The Study of the Effectiveness of Rehabilitation and Wellness Programs for People living with Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Abstract: Need/Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a progressive demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, affects over 2.5 million people worldwide. MS significantly impacts the general health status (GHS) and quality of life (QOL). An extensive literature review reveals a gap in the rehabilitation and MS literature in providing evidence of the effectiveness of wellness programs to improve the GHS and QOL for people living with MS. Rationale: The changing health care system, rising health care costs, and the limited scope of solely biomedical interventions for MS necessitate examining alternative approaches to improve the QOL for people with MS. QOL has become a primary outcome in the provision of healthcare services, and is the predominant measure in clinical research. Occupational therapy (OT) intervention promotes QOL and well-being through maximizing clients' engagement in meaningful and purposeful activities. Methodological design: This proposal randomized clinical trial uses a repeated measure design to examine the long term effects (three months after the termination of treatment) of an OT wellness approach, compared to a traditional OT rehab approach and a social activity program (control), on the outcome of QOL and GHS in people living with MS. Data Analysis: The multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) will be used to explore the relationships among the dependent variables of the two treatment and the control groups. Significance: In examining the effectiveness of the OT Wellness interventions on the GHS and QOL of people with MS, this proposal study will 1) contribute to much needed evidence-based practice for OT; 2) lay a foundation for wellness services for people with MS; 3) create opportunities for interdisciplinary (OT, Psychology, and Optometry) collaboration to strengthen treatment approaches for clients with MS; and 4) generate preliminary data to support further major federal grant applications.