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Research Activities in the School of Medical Laboratory
and Radiation Sciences

  • Exercise Physiology and Disease Processes

Investigators: S. Colberg, Ph.D., D. Swain, Ph.D., T. Somma, Ed.D., and S. Sechrist, Ed.D.
Title: Exercise Timing and Maximal Glycemic Benefits for Type 2 Diabetic Individuals 
Funded by: Lifescan, Inc. ($10,000)
This is a collaborative effort with Drs. Sheri Colberg (PI) and David Swain from the ODU  Dept. of Exercise Science.  The project will examine if timing of moderate and intense bouts of aerobic exercise around a meal modulates the glycemic effect of the activity in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Investigators: S. Colberg, Ph.D., A. Raymer, Ph.D., T. Somma, Ed.D., S. Sechrist, Ed.D., and F. Coleman, M.S.
Title:  The relationship among Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, diabetes and physical activity status
Funded by:  Virginia Center on Aging/VCU ($30,000) 
The study will examine the relationship among cognitive status, exercise status, and type 2 diabetes or impaired fasting glucose.
  • Cancer Proteomics

Investigators: S. Thompson, M.S.H., P. Hentosh, Sc.D., J. Poutsma, Ph.D., and D. Bonchev, Ph.D. (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Title: Significance of bonding strength between Bcl-2-related proteins in adenocarcinoma of the lung
Funded by: ODU Office of Research ($14,000)
This study is based on the hypothesis that computer modeling and simulation of protein:protein interactions within the Bcl-2 family of proteins in lung cancer cells can provide markers for early cancer detection and treatment determination. In addition, molecular techniques and immunocytochemistry will be used to validate predicted protein behavior and interactions.

Investigators: P. Hentosh, Sc.D., D. Peffley, Ph.D., S. Thompson, M.S., P. Hatcher, Ph.D., and D. Bonchev, Ph.D. (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Title: Modeling and testing complex interactions of chromatin-associated proteins in cancer cells
Funded by: ODU Office of Research ($78,000)
This study combines the disciplines of bioinformatics, biomathematics, proteomics and immunocytochemistry. We will investigate the complex behavior of chromatin-associated proteins identified using a combination of the Gene Ontology database and interactions established using Chilibot (based on PubMed database). This gene set will then be simulated using structural bioinformatics combined with cellular automata. Simulation will result in qualitative and quantitative binding characteristics that will be validated and tested through laboratory-based proteomics, mass spectroscopy and immunocytochemistry. This work will enable the development of a new and unique method for characterizing lung tumors.
 
Investigators: K. Schoenbach, Ph.D. (Center for Bioelectrics) and D. Peffley, Ph.D.
Title: A new combination therapy for cancer - subnanosecond electrical pulse treatment of electrosensitized tumors
Funded by: Breeden Adams Foundation ($33,889, Graduate Student Research Fellowship)
Ultrashort electrical pulses with durations of 300 nanoseconds and electric fields of 40 kV/cm have been shown to eliminate melanoma tumors in mice. This study will extend the application of this novel cancer therapy to other types of tumors, such as prostate tumors. We are in the process of developing an antenna system to deliver electrical energy to deep-lying tumors. This will allow the generation of very high electric fields inside tissues with millimeter spatial resolution. In order to transfer the electrical energy selectively into tumor cells, we will explore the possible synergistic action of three drugs: bleomycin, which has been shown to increase the tumor cell kill rate of long electrical pulses, and two other agents (perillyl alcohol and rapamycin), which have been shown to radiosensitize prostate, breast and pancreatic cancer cells.
  • Infectious Diseases

Investigator: A. Bell, M.S.
Title: Molecular detection and prevalence of Gardnerella vaginalis, Trichomonas vaginalis and Candida albicans in women presenting with symptoms of vaginitis
Supported by: Riverside Regional Medical Center
This study validates the BD Affirm™VPIII Microbial Identification test as an effective methodology for the detection of agents of vaginitis.  The test is DNA based and can replace the standard wet mount for detection of  Gardnerella, Trichomonas, and Candida from clinical specimens. In addition, incidence rate and ethnic/racial disparities are examined to support the need for intervention during prenatal care.
 
Investigator: A. Bell, M.S.
Title: Prevalence of community acquired Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in patients presenting with soft tissue infections
Supported by: Riverside Regional Medical Center
The study will investigate the incidence of MRSA bacterial isolates in patients presenting with soft tissue infections in the Hampton Roads area. Specifically, we will examine bacterial isolates for the Panton-Valentine(PV) leukocidin gene, a genetic marker that differentiates community acquired MRSA from hospital acquired MRSA isolates. Presence of the PV gene can result in increased inflammation and tissue destruction and decreased susceptibility to common antimicrobial agents.  This work will lead to early laboratory detection of community acquired MRSA strains thus improving patient outcome.
  • Modeling, Simulation and Visualization

Investigators: G. De Leo, Ph.D. and K. Kott, Ph.D.
Title: Virtual Reality (VR) for Treadmill Training: Improving Functional Ambulation in Children with Cerebral Palsy
Funded by: ODU Office of Research ($17,000, Summer Experience Enhancing Collaborative Research [SEECR])
The purpose of this collaborative research project between Drs. Kott and De Leo is 1) to design and develop a VR system to enhance treadmill training using the principles of "best practice" for interventions in children with cerebral palsy (CP), 2) test the use of VR as a motivational tool to enhance ambulation training on the treadmill in ~ 10 children with CP and 3) determine if there is improvement in the children's functional ambulation status using the Standardized Walking Obstacle Course (SWOC) in a pre-post test study design.
 
Investigators: M. Walker, Ph.D., G. De Leo, Ph.D., J. Crouch, S. Ringleb, Ph.D., B. Van Lunen, Ph.D., G. Maihafer, Ph.D. and J. Shelton (EVMS)
Title: Virtual Reality in Gait Rehabilitation
Funded by: ODU Office of Research ($75,000)
This study proposes to develop a virtual reality-enhanced system in conjunction with treadmill usage to enable progressive gait training, increase motor learning and enhance stroke patient motivation to practice walking. The system will use partial weight support and an orientation tracking device to detect "leaning". The virtual reality program will include a scenic path and a virtual companion that delivers verbal feedback and encouragement based on patient performance.
 
Investigators: T. Mastaglio (MYMIC,LLC), G. De Leo, Ph.D. and M. Washington
Title: Medical Resource Management Simulation Project
Funded by: US Airforce-SBIR ($150,000)
This project proposes to develop a simulation system model that will train medical support personnel who are responsible for medical resource allocation and ensuing oversight when confronted with the stress of combat or mass casualties.  This model will be designed so that it can also support tracking and assessment of performance during the simulated event.