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Arnold Line, MS, United States

Tougaloo College is a private, co-educational, historically black, liberal arts institution of higher education founded in 1869, in Madison County, north of Jackson, Mississippi, USA. Originally established by New York–based Christian missionaries for the education of freed slaves and their offspring, from 1871 until 1892 the college served as a teachers' training school funded by the state of Mississippi.In 1998 the buildings of the old campus were added to the National Register of Historic Places. Wikipedia.

Roy S.R.,University of Mississippi Medical Center | McGinty E.E.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Hayes S.C.,Tougaloo College | Zhang L.,Office of Health Data and Research
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology | Year: 2010

Background: In the United States, asthma hospitalization rates are disproportionately high among blacks compared with other racial/ethnic groups and vary by geographic region. These disparities among asthma hospitalizations might be affected by social, environmental, and health-care access factors. Objective: To determine demographic risk factors for asthma hospitalizations in urban versus rural areas of Mississippi. Methods: A cross-sectional study using data from the Mississippi Asthma Surveillance System was conducted to compare asthma hospitalizations in the urban Jackson metropolitan statistical area and rural Delta regions of Mississippi from 2003 to 2005. Factors including race, sex, age, and household income that might be associated with multiple hospitalizations for asthma (3 or more during the study period) were assessed using logistic regression. Results: Asthma hospitalization rates were significantly higher among all demographic groups in the rural Delta region compared with the urban Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area (P < .001). In both regions, hospitalization rates were higher among blacks and females (P < .001). Asthma hospitalization rates were highest among children (0-17 years) and older adults (≥65 years). In both regions, blacks were more likely to have 3 or more asthma hospitalizations (P < .001). Residents of the Delta had higher odds for multiple hospitalizations controlling for race, sex, age, and household income (P < .05). Conclusion: Blacks with asthma are more likely to have multiple asthma hospitalizations in Mississippi. Higher odds of multiple asthma discharges for Delta residents were not explained by race, sex, age, or income, indicating that other contributing factors (eg, environmental, social, and access to care factors) need further investigation. © 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 199.92K | Year: 2015

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities-Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) Research Initiation Awards (RIAs) provide support to STEM junior faculty at HBCUs who are starting to build a research program, as well as for mid-career faculty who may have returned to the faculty ranks after holding an administrative post or who needs to redirect and rebuild a research program. Faculty members may pursue research at their home institution, at an NSF-funded Center, at a research intensive institution or at a national laboratory. The RIA projects are expected to help further the faculty members research capability and effectiveness, to improve research and teaching at his or her home institution, and to involve undergraduate students in research experiences. With support from the National Science Foundation, Tougaloo College will conduct research to understand how heme proteins function in biological systems and what factors regulate their functions. The research project is an interdisciplinary project which will involve students and faculty in the areas of chemistry, physics and biology. The project is expected to expand the research capacity of the College and to promote student and faculty engagement in STEM disciplines. It will contribute to the Colleges efforts to produce more qualified STEM workers and researchers, especially from underrepresented minority groups.

The goals of this project are to: 1) study the dynamic structure of the di-heme enzyme, MauG, and some mutant MauG proteins; 2) determine the relationship between the dynamic properties and the enzyme function; and 3) identify key structural features that control the dynamic structures and long-range electron transfer properties of the enzyme. Resonance Raman and FTIR spectroscopy along with kinetic studies will be used to achieve these goals. Findings from this work will provide clues as to how the protein is self-regulated to perform the catalytic function while protecting itself from oxidative damage and may also help to elucidate the electron-transfer and catalytic mechanism of other multi-active center proteins or protein complexes. This work is expected to extend the understanding of the structure-function relationship, especially the roles of remote residue in electron transfer. This project will also provide training in variable temperature techniques, and protein expression and purification techniques for undergraduates. These are valuable skills that will allow students to distinguish themselves in the job market and/or give students a competitive edge when applying to graduate schools.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Systems and Synthetic Biology | Award Amount: 354.30K | Year: 2014

Environmental conditions regulate the expression of genes in bacteria. These complex regulatory processes afford microbes the ability to survive under various conditions. These cues can range from temperature to pH and nutritional availability. In members of the Bacillus cereus group, iron availability has been demonstrated to regulate genes associated with numerous pathways, including iron acquisition. Iron uptake in Bacillus cereus group microbes have emerged as areas of interest in the identification virulence factors. This group includes the human pathogen Bacillus cereus, the insect pathogen Bacillus thuringiensis, and the zoonotic pathogen Bacillus anthracis. Ferric iron and heme iron sources have been identified as critical for the growth and virulence of many of these microbes. An important iron uptake mechanism for the B. cereus group microbes is the siderophore petrobactin. A unique compound, this siderophore has only been isolated within the Bacillus cereus group microbes and the marine Marinobacter species. The level of this small, ferric chelator can be altered by both growth temperature and iron availability. While most siderophore are regulated by the ferric uptake regulator, there are no clearly defined regulatory mechanisms involved in petrobactin production, as it lacks the ferric regulator sequence within the petrobactin operon. The focus of the study will address the signaling mechanisms that govern iron uptake in response to iron and temperature. This research will involve undergraduates from Tougaloo College, a historically black college in Mississippi. The proposed project will work in concert with the Tougaloo College Natural Sciences Divisions plan to increase the African-American STEM pipeline by strengthening the undergraduate research experience and enhancing the curriculum.

TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION. Iron availability in microbes has been demonstrated to regulate gene expression. In the Bacillus cereus group microbes, several iron acquisition systems have been detected, including siderophore mediated transport and heme uptake systems. Bacillus cereus group microbes produce two catechol containing siderophores, bacillibactin and petrobactin. While bacillibactin is regulated by iron availability via the ferric iron uptake regulation, no such regulatory mechanism is identified within the petrobactin operon. The proposed study will seek to elucidate the mechanisms governing petrobactin production in response to environmental signals, including iron and temperature. Aim one will focus on identifying petrobactin regulatory genes. Transposon mutagenesis will be employed to identify Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis mutants not capable of regulating petrobactin production. The temperature sensitive plasmid pIC333, which carries the mini-Tn10 transposon element, will be used to transform B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. Antibiotic resistant mutants will be cultured for 12 hours in transferrin containing medium and then cultured overnight in the presence of streptonigrin. Microbes capable of utilizing transferrin iron, which is predicted to be mediated by petrobactin, will be killed by the streptonigrin. Viable cells will be isolated on complex, antibiotic containing medium. The chrome azurol S assay, the Arnow assay and thin layer chromatography will be used to characterize siderophore and catechol production in isolated mutants. Genome sequencing and complementation will be used to identify and confirm sequence involvement in petrobactin production. Aim two will focus on characterizing B. cereus group member phenotypes under iron and temperature growth conditions. We have observed that petrobactin biosynthesis genes are differentially regulated when cells were cultured in different iron sources and under different temperatures. Environmental and ATCC B. cereus group microbes will be cultured in iron replete and deplete conditions for 24 hours. Aliquots will be removed at specific time points to measure petrobactin production during the various growth phases. At each of the time points, cell motility and spore concentration will also be measured. Transcriptional profiling will be used to identify unique signatures associated with iron and growth temperature in B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. This study will provide insight into the complex regulatory mechanisms of B. cereus group microbes in response to environmental cues.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 1.03M | Year: 2011

Tougaloo College, a minority-serving institution, is awarding two-year scholarships to 18 talented, upper-level students with a major in biology, chemistry, mathematics or physics who desire certification in secondary education and are committed to completing four years of teaching in grades 7-12 in high-need school districts in Mississippi. The substantial curriculum is being driven by clinical field-based experiences in formal and informal settings, seminars, and workshops in collaboration with established local school districts and community partners. The Noyce Program is being structured around undergraduate and post-graduate mentoring by STEM and Education Division faculty and master 7-12 teachers, professional development activities and networking. Scholars are being prepared to enter the 7-12 STEM classroom as highly qualified, highly effective teachers and are provided resources and support to ensure teacher retention. Pre-Noyce activities such as teaching in the colleges Summer Science Program are being made available to freshmen and sophomores who wish to ultimately apply for Noyce scholarships. By establishing a strong STEM Teacher Education Program that will impact Mississippi students for years to come, the Program is increasing the number of qualified beginning STEM teachers in Mississippi and increasing the number of effective beginning teachers in schools serving economic and socially disadvantaged students. The project is establishing a mechanism for ongoing participation between Tougaloo STEM and Education faculty, increasing the number and expertise of STEM beginning teachers, and subsequently improving the aspirations and competence of Mississippi students. By building partnerships with community schools, the Program is creating a pipeline for future qualified STEM teachers to serve in area high-need schools.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 598.00K | Year: 2012

The Scholarship, Leadership, and Mentoring in the STEM Fields (SLMS) project at Tougaloo College is supporting 15 students with 4-year scholarships as they earn degrees in science, computer science, or mathematics. To augment traditional studies, the SLMS program also is focusing on leadership training in addition to community building. SLMS scholars are benefiting from individual mentoring from a faculty team of two and from targeted academic support through the colleges Science Success Center. In addition, SLMS scholars are being given opportunities for internships with workforce partners as well as research opportunities with on-campus faculty. SLMS scholars are being invited to take advantage of intensive career counseling in addition to leadership skill-building workshops and seminars. Scholars are participating in the ACTIVE seminar series in which they are building their scientific writing and presentation skills while also interfacing with the invited distinguished faculty visitors.

Intellectual Merit: The SLMS program is removing one of the major hindrances concerning minority student success in STEM disciplines, namely financial need. With a revamped curriculum, Tougaloo is positioned to increase STEM student engagement and build hands-on investigative and critical thinking skills. This program is providing data on the impact of financial support on recruitment and retention-to-degree of African-American students at a small private HBCU .

Broader Impact: The project is building on a strong base to provide everything a student needs to attend college and to succeed as a major in a STEM area. Academic enrichment, professional development, and a hands-on approach to mentoring are at the core of this program that is graduating well-rounded, scientifically literate, community-committed, minority students who are increasing the diversity in the STEM workforce.

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