Student Research Panels II

Join us as we celebrate student research on Tuesday, March 5 at B 226 from 1:30pm – 3pm.

This event is part of Research Month 2019. Visit our website for a full list of events.
Chair: Dr. Tim Rawlings

Speakers

Generating Consistent Functionalization with Inconsistent Biochar
Presenter:    Cameron Bayne Forbes (Chemistry); Supervisor:  Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie

Characterization of igf2a and igf2b gene products and differential temporal and sex-linked expression of igf2b, atp1a2a, and scn4aa genes in the electric organ of the gymnotiform fish Brachyhypopomus gauderio
Presenter:    Victoria Ivey (Biology); Supervisor:  Dr. Vielka Salazar

Trematode Parasites in Lake Ainslie Through Time
Presenter:    Hanna MacLean (Biology); Supervisor:  Dr. Tim Rawlings

Abstracts

Generating Consistent Functionalization with Inconsistent Biochar
Presenter:    Cameron Bayne Forbes (Chemistry)
Supervisor:  Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie
Biochar is fixed carbon that we produce from waste streams. To offset these waste streams, we hope to increase the range of applications for biochar. One way might be to add other materials to the biochar. Unfortunately, the surface of biochar is typically amorphous (without order). This poses a challenge when attempting to reliably add other compounds to its surface. By oxidizing the biochar, we should be able to generate a more consistent surface. From there, we can consistently bond functional materials to its surface.

Keywords: Organic Chemistry; Biochar; Materials

Characterization of igf2a and igf2b gene products and differential temporal and sex-linked expression of igf2b, atp1a2a, and scn4aa genes in the electric organ of the gymnotiform fish Brachyhypopomus gauderio
Presenter:    Victoria Ivey (Biology)
Supervisor:  Dr. Vielka Salazar
The nocturnal gymnotiform fish Brachyhypopomus gauderio can use its electric organ (EO) to generate a weak electric signal to sense its environment and communicate with conspecifics. In both sexes, amplitude and duration of the electric signal are maximized during the night when courtship and spawning occur and minimized during the day to reduce energetic costs and avoid detection by electroreceptive predators, with daily changes being particularly pronounced in males. This day-night cycling of the electric signal has been proposed to be regulated by a cellular pathway involving three key molecules: insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) (coded by the genes igf2a and igf2b), sodium-potassium ATPase (coded by atp1a2a), and voltage-gated sodium channels (coded by scn4aa). However, the connection between these molecules and their relationship to changing signal characteristics is unclear. This study aimed to characterize the physical structures of two isoforms of the primary signal molecule IGF-II and determine potential divergence in their functions and expression in tissues. This study also aimed to determine if all three molecules were involved in the regulation of day-night cycling in the electric signal by measuring expression of the igf2b, atp1a2a, and scn4aa genes in the EO between males and females and day and night conditions. The results of this study will give further insight into the energetics and cellular mechanisms regulating the plasticity of the EO.

Keywords: molecular biology; physiology; animal behavior

Trematode Parasites in Lake Ainslie Through Time
Presenter:    Hanna MacLean (Biology)
Supervisor:  Dr. Tim Rawlings
Parasitic trematode flatworms play an important, but often overlooked, role in regulating community structure in freshwater ecosystems. Their complex life cycles involving a minimum of two hosts, one of which is typically a mollusc (snail or bivalve), can result in a variety of direct and indirect effects on organisms spanning both aquatic and terrestrial environments. During the summer of 1966, Farley (1967) attempted to quantify the species diversity of trematode parasites associated with the freshwater snail, Stagnicola elodes (=Lymnaea emarginata) in Lake Ainslie, Cape Breton, using light microscopy. He reported 10 species of trematodes, of which Plagiorchis muris and P. proximus were the most common species, with a lower prevalence of other genera including Cotylurus, Notocotylus, Diplostomum, and also Trichobilharzia stagnicolae, a causative agent of swimmer’s itch. In 2018, over 50 years later, we reassessed the parasite community associated with S.elodes, this time using morphological as well as molecular tools. Our results demonstrated a 1.5X higher species richness of trematodes than originally reported by Farley. Increased diversity was largely associated with morphologically-conservative taxa in the genus Plagiorchis, suggesting that our results may reflect the increased resolving power of DNA barcoding compared to morphology alone. This study represents the first stage in using molecular tools to track the multi-host life-cycles of trematode parasites in Lake Ainslie and to more fully understand their complex nexus of interactions with other organisms.

Keywords: parasites; molecular tools; freshwater ecosystems

 

How Physiotherapists Effectively Motivate Adult Patients to Learn and Adhere to their Treatment Plans
Presenter:    Marli McInnis (BACS SPAL)
Supervisor:  Dr. Bettina Callary
Physiotherapists’ goals are to help patients recover from injury, by providing treatment and facilitating learning for self-care through exercise plans. Thus, they need to effectively motivate their patients to learn and adhere to an exercise program as part of their recovery. Knowles and colleagues’ (2012) andragogy in practice model stipulates that adults learn better when they are intrinsically motivated. The purpose of this research study was to investigate how physiotherapists help clients learn and adhere to their treatment plans. Using a multiple case study methodology, I interviewed three new patients at a physiotherapy clinic before and after a series of four visits. I also interviewed three physiotherapists (as matched to each patient). I observed, took field notes, and asked brief questions of each couple (the physiotherapists with their respective patients) during four visits. These observations, field notes, and conversations allowed me to assess the congruency of the interactions between the physiotherapists and patients regarding adult motivation to learn and adhere to their treatment plans. Physiotherapists need to be aware of their patient’s desire to be a part of the problem-solving process and should provide a caring environment to further motivate patients to work hard and complete the exercise plan.

Keywords: Physiotherapy; Adult Learning; Motivation