2023 Division Of Research Annual Report

NOVA S OU T H E AS T E RN UN I V E R S I T Y Mind Wandering After a decade of studying pieces of the overall model examining the impact of stress on inflammation and cognition, Jonathan Banks, Ph.D., and Jaime Tartar, Ph.D., set out to test their full model. Their two labs show that mind wandering is a cause and consequence of stress. Inflammation often occurs during chronic periods of stress. Exploring the role of mind wandering and propensity for negative thoughts related to stress could lead to targeted behavioral interventions, to protect attention and reduce inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the immune system is responding to an irritant. To recommend how people can redirect attention and action toward the actual irritant—stress—the team aims to quantify a range of biomarkers and build a better model of what is happening in the chronic stress system. Chronic Suffering The U.S. deployed around 800,000 troops to the Kuwait region during the Persian Gulf War (1990–1991). An estimated 25–30 percent came back ill. Most still suffer from a chronic condition now called Gulf War illness (GWI). Current medical treatment only addresses symptoms. The need to fully understand the mechanisms of the disease persists. A new grant is helping Lubov Nathanson, Ph.D., to evaluate GWI patients and build upon prior work. From blood samples, Nathanson will study individual white blood cells and evaluate B- and T-cell receptors and inflammatory gene expression changes in all immune cell types using state-of-the-art single cell RNA sequencing technology. The technique identifies which exact immune cells are causing problems. Better therapeutic targets could help doctors treat GWI, not just its resulting symptoms. Dignity and Daring In three to five years, individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) typically become dependent on machines to support daily activities. Patients ultimately succumb. Eduardo Locatelli, M.D., M.P.H., hopes to aid these patients he refers to as pALS by developing interventions that slow disease progression and improve quality of life. Maintaining independence and improving survivorship while working toward a cure are top goals. His NSU Health clinic offers expert care for pALS and caregivers, as well as patients and loved ones grappling with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Since the clinic is multidisciplinary, pALS are seen by multiple specialists in the same visit. The clinic is now located within NSU’s Center for Collaborative Research building. Business Ailments Research by Xiaochuan Song, Ph.D., and Baiyun Gong, Ph.D., involves investigating workplace isolation, organizational justice, and negative consequences, like turnover, which can cost a company 33–50 percent of an employee’s annual salary, according to some reports. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Florida ranks in the top 10 states with the highest turnover rate. In response to the pandemic, more than 75 percent of U.S. organizations have implemented remote working arrangements. An NSU community partner interviewed local business leaders and confirmed that most will adopt a mix of in-person and remote work modes. But remote work can amplify negative dynamics and proliferate inaccurate evaluations. Song and Gong aim to help business leaders with research-backed development of innovative solutions. KIBLER NATHANSON SONG POLAND 19 TARTAR LOCATELLI BANKS Scan for more. Scan for more. Scan for more. Scan for more.