Bonan C.D.,Grande Rio University
CNS and Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets | Year: 2012
Extracellular nucleotide and nucleoside are signaling molecules with a wide range of actions in the central nervous system (CNS). Extracellular ATP is released by several mechanisms involving ATP binding cassette transporters, hemichannels, P2X7 receptors, or volume-sensitive chloride channels. The levels of ATP and its hydrolysis product, adenosine, in the synaptic cleft are controlled by a complex cascade of cell surface-located enzymes collectively known as ectonucleotidases. There are four major families of ectonucleotidases: ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolases (E-NTPDases), ecto-nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterases (E-NPPs), alkaline phosphatases, and ecto-5'- nucleotidase. Besides the production of adenosine through nucleotide hydrolysis, this neuromodulator can be released as adenosine per se by equilibrative and/or concentrative nucleoside transporters. In this review, the involvement of nucleotide/nucleoside transporters and ectonucleotidases in the pathophysiology of brain disorders is discussed. The identification of compounds able to modulate the activity of these players in purinergic neurotransmission and their implications in neurological disorders as potential targets for drug discovery is also highlighted. © 2012 Bentham Science Publishers.
Zhang L.,Grande Rio University
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews | Year: 2013
Airway oedema and mucus plugging are the predominant pathological features in infants with acute viral bronchiolitis. Nebulised hypertonic saline solution may reduce these pathological changes and decrease airway obstruction. To assess the effects of nebulised hypertonic (≥ 3%) saline solution in infants with acute viral bronchiolitis. We searched CENTRAL 2013, Issue 4, OLDMEDLINE (1951 to 1965), MEDLINE (1966 to April week 4, 2013), EMBASE (1974 to May 2013), LILACS (1985 to May 2013) and Web of Science (1955 to May 2013). Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs using nebulised hypertonic saline alone or in conjunction with bronchodilators as an active intervention and nebulised 0.9% saline as a comparator in infants up to 24 months of age with acute bronchiolitis. Two review authors independently performed study selection, data extraction and assessment of risk of bias in included studies. We conducted meta-analyses using the Cochrane statistical package RevMan 5.2. We used the random-effects model for meta-analyses. We used mean difference (MD) and risk ratio (RR) as effect size metrics. We included 11 trials involving 1090 infants with mild to moderate acute viral bronchiolitis (500 inpatients, five trials; 65 outpatients, one trial; and 525 emergency department patients, four trials). All but one of the included trials were of high quality with a low risk of bias. A total of 560 patients received hypertonic saline (3% saline n = 503; 5% saline n = 57). Patients treated with nebulised 3% saline had a significantly shorter mean length of hospital stay compared to those treated with nebulised 0.9% saline (MD -1.15 days, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.49 to -0.82, P < 0.00001). The hypertonic saline group also had a significantly lower post-inhalation clinical score than the 0.9% saline group in the first three days of treatment (day 1: MD -0.88, 95% CI -1.36 to -0.39, P = 0.0004; day 2: MD -1.32, 95% CI -2.00 to -0.64, P = 0.001; day 3: MD -1.51, 95% CI -1.88 to -1.14, P < 0.00001). The effects of improving clinical score were observed in both outpatients and inpatients. Four emergency department-based trials did not show any significant short-term effects (30 to 120 minutes) of up to three doses of nebulised 3% saline in improving clinical score and oxygen saturation. No significant adverse events related to hypertonic saline inhalation were reported. Current evidence suggests nebulised 3% saline may significantly reduce the length of hospital stay among infants hospitalised with non-severe acute viral bronchiolitis and improve the clinical severity score in both outpatient and inpatient populations.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM | Award Amount: 22.00K | Year: 2017
The Faculty and Undergraduate Research Student Teams (FURST) program brings together small research groups comprised of undergraduate students and faculty from primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI) in order to provide them with a year-long research experience. The program also provides a one month long intensive summer immersion for its participants at an established summer REU site at Fresno State. FURST students get an opportunity to participate in professional workshops, presentations and academic discussions along with the REU students, whereas FURST faculty can take advantage of an on-site, in-person research collaboration with their peers within the FURST program. The programs main goal is to foster both student and faculty research at PUIs, with the specific goal of producing student and faculty authored publications, as well as presentations. The program is designed to be inclusive and accessible to teams from institutions with varying research focus and support, in order to mitigate cultural changes at institutions which may not consider research a quintessential component of higher education.
FURST students will be working on open problems in mathematics under the guidance of their faculty mentors. Research topics include community detection problems in networks, expanding the framework and analysis of the cop and robber game, the use of coarse Ricci curvature in data analysis and interpolation problems, the study and solution of the non-linear Riccati-Ermakov equation, as well as other non-linear dispersive partial differential equations. Strengthening their background in the selected research topic through readings and lecture at their home institutions will prepare FURST students to engage in research at the same speed as the REU students during the immersion phase. Students will be expected to submit the end product of their research for publication in a peer reviewed journal. FURST faculty will engage in solving open problems in their area of research while building collaborations with faculty at other institutions. Faculty are also expected to produce publishable work as a result of participating in the program. In accordance with the stated goals, the program will improve access to research for students at PUIs, where such opportunities are typically limited. It will also (re)-energize faculty at PUIs so that they remain active in research. By doing so, FURST will help transform the research culture at the participating institutions, especially since the bulk of the research activities will take place at FURST teams home institutions. While FURST student participants will learn skills through the program that are invaluable in graduate school and in the scientific workplace, the program will broadly impact the students at the involved PUIs by demonstrating to them (through student talks and presentations) that research can be part of the undergraduate educational experience. Finally, through the immersion in an active REU site, FURST students will gain exposure to the workings of an REU program, and will be able to make better informed choices about applying to REU as a potential next step in their academic development.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 464.96K | Year: 2016
Geoscience is vital to understanding and solving crucial global threats such as shortages of water, energy and food, and mitigating natural hazards in the coming century. However, the geoscience workforce in the US is facing not only a serious shortage for the coming decade, but the field struggles to keep pace with the changing national demographics. Of all of the STEM fields, geoscience has the least ethnic diversity, with Hispanics accounting for only ~3%, suggesting a clear consequence of the historically low enrollment of Hispanic students in geoscience fields. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), with its rapidly growing Environmental and Earth Sciences (EES) program, is the nations second-largest Hispanic-serving institution with ~29,000 students (~90% Hispanic). UTRGVs strategic location along the international border with Mexico, as well as its founding principles, make it an ideal hub to nurture geoscientists from South Texas and beyond.
The goals of GP-EXTRA: Stimulating Hispanic Participation in the Geosciences (SHIP-GEO) at UTRGV are to contribute to reducing the US geoscience workforce shortage predicted for the coming decade and to increase Hispanic participation. SHIP-GEO aims to double, within five years (two years beyond NSF support), the annual number of graduates from the Environmental and Earth Sciences program. These goals are being achieved by hosting activities geared toward student recruitment and retention while building a mentoring network of students and alumni. The alumni mentors are helping to direct the students in their career and future success. The project has four objectives: (1) grow the existing EES program at UTRGV with the specific aim to recruit and retain students in geoscience; (2) increase community awareness of Earth systems; (3) guide community college and high school students into geoscience careers; and (4) expose undergraduate students to research as a path to graduate school. These objectives are being achieved through: pairing undergraduate majors with alumni who are working in the field of interest of the student; encouraging the transfer of community college students into the EES program at UTRGV through field trips, guest speakers, and an annual alumni career day; and expanding undergraduate research opportunities by engaging students in ongoing projects. The project also is awarding fifty scholarships to five cohorts of students over three years. SHIP-GEO contributes to the NSFs goal of increasing diversity in the geoscience pipeline by attracting, supporting and preparing Hispanic students for careers in geosciences in South Texas, and is expected to become one of the best-known programs in the nation for producing quality Hispanic geoscientists.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: OCEAN TECH & INTERDISC COORDIN | Award Amount: 32.85K | Year: 2017
The oceans midwater realm is the next frontier for underwater robots. The mesopelagic or twilight zone encompasses depths from 200 to 1000 meters where sunlight is dim. This vast region plays a key role in regulating ocean chemistry and biology, which in turn strongly effects global climate. The mesopelagic zone holds much of our planets fish populations as well as poorly understood processes that couple the ocean surface to the seafloor including vertical fluxes of plankton, organic and inorganic particles, bubbles, and droplets. Mesopelagic features are often mobile, patchy, and ephemeral, so surveys and sampling can be very difficult. Recent studies have found that mesopelagic biomass including fish are dramatically underestimated, yet investigations of patterns and processes in this region are strongly constrained by available technology.
This program will produce a unique new robot that will enable unprecedented scientific access to midwater environments, complementing existing survey and sampling tools. The robot will use cameras, lights, and oceanographic sensors to autonomously track slow-moving individual targets such as migrating mid-water animals, descending particles, and rising bubbles and droplets without disturbing those targets. It will also have the ability to detect and follow fine-scale oceanographic features such as thin layers that hold critical nutrients. Finally, the robot will take samples utilizing on-board intelligence to determine precisely when and where to sample. Under this program, the robot will be built and tested under a collaboration between the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Stanford University, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: LIGO RESEARCH SUPPORT | Award Amount: 300.00K | Year: 2015
The General Theory of Relativity discovered by Einstein tells us that the familiar, everyday force of gravity is a manifestation of something much stranger: the bending of the geometry of space-time by matter. Among the key predictions of the theory, which includes the expanding Universe and the existence of black holes, is the existence of gravitational waves (GW): ripples moving at the speed of light in the geometry of space-time caused by the fast motion of large masses. Although well tested in terms of their indirect effects on binary systems of compact stars, the direct detection of gravitational waves incident on Earth poses an outstanding challenge. The scientific rewards from achieving this ability would be enormous - ranging from probing the extreme dynamics of exploding stars to gleaning information about the state of the Universe almost at the moment of the Big Bang itself. The effort to enable this new window on the universe has occupied several decades of experimental and technological developments that have pushed the boundaries across diverse fields in the physical sciences. The year 2015 will mark a highly-anticipated watershed moment for gravitational-wave physics: The two advanced Laser Interferomenter Gravitational Wave Observatory (aLIGO) detectors will start their initial data taking runs, followed by the commissioning of the advanced Virgo gravitational wave observatory in Europe. The sensitivity of the aLIGO detector will be ramped up to become about ten times better than that of the first-generation detectors, opening up a spatial volume for observing GW sources that will be 1000 times larger than before. Along with these tremendous advances in instrumentation, it has been known from the very inception of the gravitational wave physics effort that the envelope of statistical data analysis techniques must also be pushed further to enable the detection of weak and rare signals embedded in noise. It is in this area that the research funded by this grant will make significant contributions. By supporting graduate students, this grant will help to grow the community of researchers in this field. Since the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) is an Hispanic serving institution, the research activities will expose students who are traditionally under-represented in STEM areas to forefront science. Ongoing major education and outreach activities at UTB will leverage these activities to create awareness among high-school students about exciting projects such as LIGO.
This grant supports research projects in the following major data analysis areas. (i) An algorithm will be developed and implemented that allows the construction of sky maps of an anisotropic background of stochastic gravitational waves with minimal prior assumptions. Using methods originally developed in the context of pulsar-timing-based gravitational-wave searches, the new approach will vastly extend the capabilities of existing model-dependent searches. A Bayesian alternative to the standard frequentist stochastic search will also be developed that will leverage existing code for Bayesian inference in the context of detector characterization and noise estimation. (ii) A smoothness-regularization-based coherent network analysis method will be implemented that significantly improves the detection and characterization of burst gravitational wave signals having non-compact time-frequency (TF) signatures. Such signals are expected to arise in a variety of astrophysical scenarios but are known to pose a significant challenge to existing methods. (iii) A new method, derived from the Harmonic Regeneration Noise Reduction (HRNR) technique developed in acoustical signal processing, will be integrated with existing network analysis pipelines to boost their sensitivity to post-core-bounce-phase supernova signals. By improving both signal waveform and sky location estimation, this will lead to better multi-messenger follow up of such a rare but dramatic event. (iv) The characterization of detector noise and non-gravitational wave signals (glitches) in the data is necessary for improving detection confidence for genuine gravitational-wave signals. In this context, the Self Organizing Map (SOM) method will be used for instrumental glitch classification, and glitch characteristics relevant to aLIGO will be catalogued. An independent approach will use the BayesWave Bayesian inference pipeline to identify and study glitch signals.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 299.73K | Year: 2015
This project was submitted in response to the Dear Colleague Letter for Hispanic Serving Institutions Stimulating Research on Effective Strategies in Undergraduate STEM Education at Two-Year Hispanic Serving Institutions, NSF15-078. It will provide course enrichment and mentoring support to students at the Texas Southernmost College (TSC), a Hispanic Serving community college located in the vicinity of the University of Texas at Brownsville and the University of Texas Pan American. (These two universities have recently been merged into a single institution -- University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.) STEM graduates from TSC who decide to work on a bachelors degree typically choose to attend UT Rio Grande Valley campuses and UT Grande Valley is committed to student success at TSC. The project is adopting an approach used successfully at UT Brownsville, called Link2Success (L2S). The L2S approach provides STEM instructors with highly trained and certified student course assistants, drawing them from the ranks of advanced STEM students at UT Brownsville. These assistants are assigned to work with course instructors by leading small mandatory discussion sections. The project is transforming 10 introductory gatekeeper courses in mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics. The L2S assistants not only lead discussion groups, they also assist the students for whom they are responsible to successfully transition to college life by being peer and academic role models. The L2S model provides first-year students taking STEM courses with regular contact with individuals like themselves, an approach that is known in general to be effective.
The project will measure the impact on student success in completing gatekeeper courses and continuing to take additional STEM courses. Credible measurement methods will be used to isolate the net impact of the L2S course assistants.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: PREM | Award Amount: 1.62M | Year: 2015
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) is a new institution resulting from the merger of the University of Texas Pan American (UTPA) and UT Brownsville (UTB). UTRGV will open its doors in September 2015 as an emerging research institution with a new medical school. UTRGV will open with over 30,000 students being 89% Hispanic. The proposed UTRGV-UMN PREM partnership will provide opportunities to develop research and education infrastructure. This PREM will directly impact over 140 students (20 M.S. and 120 B.S.) most of whom will be first generation college students from underrepresented groups. The state of the art proposed research, combined with the PIs experience in leading successful scholarly enterprises presents an opportunity to further develop basic knowledge and technology in materials science while strengthening the STEM workforce by equipping students with the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to thrive. The PIs have a strong track record of working with UG students, and will mentor junior faculty to further improve student success through research projects. The PREM team will disseminate acquired knowledge in peer-reviewed journal articles, conference presentations, and multiple outreach activities to K-12 students and teachers.
The PREM team will combine efforts from seven different departments within UTRGV and three from UMN to promote fundamental understanding and development of technology. Specifically, the selected subprojects are: (1) Magnetoelectric Effects in Perovskite Complex Metal Oxides; (2) Nonflammable, Ionic Liquid-Based Electrolytes for Safer Lithium-ion Batteries; (3) Synthesis of Conjugated Polymers for Photovoltaics and Electrolyte Gated Transistors; (4) Homeostasis of Cultured Mammalian Cells in a Nanofiber Environment Development of NFs for bio-related applications; and (5) Cellular Imaging Using Persistent Luminescent Spinel Nanoparticles. These projects will: (a) aim in the development of students with strong analytical skills, creativity/innovation, teamwork, leadership, and work ethics to become visionaries and entrepreneurs in the materials science workforce; (b) promote an exchange of faculty and students between UMN/UTRGV; (c) raise STEM awareness in K-12 students while increasing awareness of innovation and creative thinking among K-12 teachers; and (d) improve UTRGVs research, academic, and community infrastructure, to promote long term growth and sustainability.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 636.07K | Year: 2015
The Pathways to Graduate School and Careers in the Mathematical Sciences project will increase the number of trained scholars ready to enter the STEM workforce. Scholarship support will be offered to students in South Texas Rio Grande Valley pursuing professional careers in fields requiring a significant background in Mathematics. The efforts broader impacts lie in the creation of infrastructure for a necessary and permanent South Texas bridge to graduate school and professional careers in the mathematical sciences.
The Pathways project will mentor University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) undergraduates through the vital period from their freshman year to the completion of a Masters degree. Financial and academic support will be provided to 22 students within UTRGVs 5-year BS/MS degree in mathematics. The objective of the project is to prepare students for careers in mathematics, statistics, and related fields through a close support network, early involvement in research, and an emphasis on graduate degree attainment. The recruitment, retention, mentoring, development, and academic support installed through this coordinated approach will provide a solid foundation for future STEM scholars in the Rio Grande Valley. Program assessment and data collected will provide evidence to inform strategies for increasing the success of mathematics mentoring programs at other Minority Serving Institutions.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: EARS | Award Amount: 334.97K | Year: 2016
This EARS (Enhancing Access to the Radio Spectrum) program was founded in response to the 2010 Presidential Memorandum on Unleashing the Wireless Broadband Revolution mandated by Congress as part of the National Broadband Plan. It was referenced in 2010 State of the Union and later on the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (More than 1/3 of the bill deals with radio spectrum), the PCAST 2012 Report [Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology] (which calls for vastly increased use of spectrum sharing) and the 2013 Presidential memo (Expanding Americas Leadership in Wireless Innovation). The aim of this program is to identify bold new concepts with the potential to contribute to significant improvements in the efficiency of radio spectrum utilization, protection of passive sensing services, and in the ability for traditionally underserved Americans to benefit from current and future wireless-enabled goods and services. The impact is large on the economics of the Nation as seen on the last FCC bidding of 65MHz of the spectrum for over $45 billion early in 2015. It will enable access to science, engineering, industry, civilian and military users of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum.
The staggering growth of wireless communications systems has led to an increasing demand for spectrum to support commercial services, particularly in the frequencies below 3 GHz, where battery-powered mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets operate most efficiently. It is desirable for such devices to be useful for a variety of applications, and in a variety of locations that have differing available spectrum. Currently this is achieved, in a smart phone for example, by a collection of hardware solutions, with one for each standard. This is complex and expensive, and such receivers will not be sufficiently adaptable for future spectrum usage. It is desirable to have a single hardware solution that is capable of receiving a broad spectrum and then selecting a particular transmission from it a based on the local spectral conditions and the application. Adaptable solutions such as this do not currently exist due in large part to the interference that occurs when a desired signal is weak and is crowded by a channel containing a high power signal. There are high dynamic range receivers that tolerate such disparate signal levels, but they are not adaptable over large bandwidths. In this project, a novel high-dynamic range receiver topology that promises to enable the reception of a wide instantaneous bandwidth will be explored. The topology is enabled by new signal processing concepts and integrated circuit technologies. The research undertaken will range from the basic theory to experimental demonstration.
Reducing the impact of radio frequency interference (RFI), e.g., cellular, radio, TV, satellite and radar signals, and interference from microwave ovens, is crucial for the future of radio astronomical discoveries. When studying celestial radio signals, it is not uncommon for the scientists to puzzle over mysterious interference. To avoid RFI, the radio astronomers select sparsely populated areas to set up their telescopes. In some cases, the quiet zones around the radio telescopes have to be established to limit the use of airwares. Therefore, the technology of RFI mitigation is a critical component needed by radio astronomy science in increasingly challenging RFI environments. This project brings together researchers in radio astronomy, statistical array signal processing, radio frequency instrumentation, digital signal processing, wireless communications, and software defined radios to address these challenges and boost the science of radio astronomy by introducing a novel framework that provides the necessary analytical tools for modeling, analyzing, and operating radio telescope arrays in complex RFI environments.
Mitigating RFI in radio astronomy is an interdisciplinary research area which combines the efforts of scientists from various fields including electrical engineering, physics, astronomy, computer science, and astrophysics. Opportunities created by developing RFI mitigation techniques by the joint team of University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and the Center for Advanced Radio Astronomy (CARA) of the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) researchers will have a direct impact in the number of students participating in STEM careers. The success of this project will be beneficial to both the commercial and the scientific communities. Recently, CARA teamed up with SpaceX, a leading commercial manufacturer of orbital launch vehicles, to create the Space Craft Tracking and Astronomical Research into Gigahertz Astrophysical Transient Emission (STARGATE), a space technology innovation center that combines higher education, research, economic development, and commercialization. The future connections developed between STARGATEs technology/business incubator and the Dallas Telecom Corridor will open up new opportunities for technology transfer and better planning of spectrum use.