Center for Microbial and Cardiovascular Studies
Project purpose and goal
The Department of Biology was the recipient of Title III funding to establish the Center for Microbial and Cardiovascular Studies. The center was designed so that faculty and students will be able to evaluate and regulate immune responses as it relates to an invasive disease. The project was initiated in 2008 and completed in 2011. Dr. Harriette Howard-Lee Block served as project supervisor and Dr. Cleveland Lane was Activity Coordinator. Dr. Quincy Moore served as lead scientist for the Microbial component of the project. The project aimed to (i) design and equip laboratory to support Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Microbiology, (ii) train students in basic research skills needed to perform microbiology and cardiovascular research, (iii) train to conduct hypothesis driven independent research in cardiovascular/hypertension research and (iv) increase in the number of students presenting research at scientific symposiums.
Dr. Quincy Moore leads the Microbial component of the Center for Microbial and Cardiovascular Studies and through his efforts over 30 undergraduates have been trained directly in the research lab in the area of host pathogen interactions and both the undergraduate and graduate Microbiology classes have incorporated data from the studies to analyzed infection models. The funds were utilized to completely renovate the animal facility, equip the research lab with the latest in scientific equipment. The objectives were achieved and through the establishment of the labs, both internal and external funding was received to further the objectives of the initial grant. Several student engaged projects have led to presentations at local, regional and national meetings.
Dr. Moore’s research focuses on the Characterization of the role of virulence factors of Streptococcus pneumoniae in Bacterial Keratitis Infections. One of the aims focused on the “Elucidating the host factors involved in S. pneumoniae Keratitis by the utilizing the established mouse model of ocular disease. Knowledge of these host factors will lead to the development of novel therapies for this form of keratitis. The research will also further characterize the role of the other pneumococcal virulence factors in keratitis infections. Currently the studies performed have led to the up regulation of certain cytokines that could potentially play a key role in the immune response to bacterial keratitis. We are continuing to analyze samples from our in vitro experiments with the hopes of confirming these results in the in vivo model.
Inputs or sample interventions
The microbial component of this initiative required training the undergraduate students in the area of ocular infection and teaching them concepts about the immune system. This laboratory is used as an applied teaching lab with both applied and critical thinking. The goals were achieved due to the availability of the equipment and supplies for research. Funds were used to purchase an ophthalmic surgery microscope, fluorescence microscope, incubators, microplate reader and supplies to enhance the teaching and learning in the Microbial lab.
Classroom: The MCRC has served as a teaching platform in our graduate program. Graduate students enrolled in BIOL 5094 (Microbiology) have studied the role of the virulence factors of the bacterium leads to infection in the mouse model. Pictured in Figure 1 is a recent graduate, Shermet Corbett (Master’s), in the animal facility. The students are given the concepts in the classroom and through the funding from this grant, they have the hands-on experience that gives them a more comprehension view.
Laboratory: Indicator: Students trained in basic research skills needed to perform microbiology and cardiovascular research. Dr. Quincy Moore explains to undergraduates the characteristics of ocular disease in the mouse eye (Fig. 2). The Ophthalmological Microscope was purchased with the funding supplied by the Title III grant. Charity Smith, a recent undergraduate Biology student, utilized our established cell line to evaluate the effects of human corneal epithelial cells being exposed to bacteria at different concentrations. The HCE cells were exposed to bacteria ranging from 103 to 107 colony forming units (CFUs) of Streptococcus pneumoniae strain D39. HCE cells exposed to D39 had membrane damage and monolayer disruption, and decreased viability, compared to cells exposed to the media alone. These results were observed when cells were exposed to the lower number of bacteria as well as the higher number of bacteria. HCE cells exposed to any of the concentrations of bacteria for four hours showed signs of cellular damage and death.
Indicator: Increase in the number of students presenting research at scientific symposiums. Since Fall 2009, research presentations from Dr. Moore’s lab have been presented at the following meetings: Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, Beta Kappa Chi National Institute of Science, Beta, Beta, Beta Biological Honor Society Regional Meeting, Annual Biology Research Symposium, STEAM, American Society for Microbiology Annual Meeting (ASM), Texas Branch- ASM annual meeting and the Undergraduate Biology Math Symposium. Several presentation awards have been received. Recent graduate Charity Smith is featured in Figure 3 where she is explaining the research performed in the laboratory that was enhanced from Title III funds. She received second place honors for her research.
Impact of activity on students, department or University
The development of the research center has served as academic enhancement for the undergraduate and graduate laboratory assistants. The research has been used as a catalyst to increase student interest in the biomedical sciences. As of today, the first 4 students involved in the research center have completed the requirements for graduation and are actively pursuing professional programs. The students involved in the center have developed critical and analytical skills necessary to succeed in the classroom. The students gained a greater appreciation for the role of translational and bench research in the medical field and society. The students understand the positive impact hands-on research has on their academic development and everyday life. Students participating have received several awards for the research performed in Dr. Moore’s laboratory which starts to bring national recognition to the university. This center also has served as a resource to secure outside funding. Dr. Moore is currently awaiting the outcome of a recently submitted grant to the Department of Defense that if awarded is worth 650,000.00.
Dr. Quincy C Moore III, Assistant Professor
Department of Biology, Prairie A & M University,
PO BOX 519; Mailstop 2210, Prairie View, TX 77446
Office: (936) 261-3168
Fax: (936) 261- 3179