2013 Undergraduate Summer Research Program in Mathematical Biosciences

Projects at IUPUI

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Undergraduate Summer Research Program 2013, May 20 - August 16, 2013
joint initiative with the NSF-funded Mathematical Biosciences Institute (MBI) in Columbus (OH)

The goal of this MBI NSF-funded program is to introduce students to exciting new areas of mathematical biology, to involve them in collaborative research with their peers and faculty mentors, and to increase their interest in mathematical biology.
The program consists of three parts - each including a mix of educational and social experiences:
Specific research projects offered at IUPUI are:

Assessing vascular compensation following a major arterial occlusion

Faculty Mentor: Julia Arciero

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects nearly 8 million Americans and is characterized by occluded systemic arteries (often due to atherosclerosis) and reduced blood supply to tissue. The human vasculature is capable of compensating for an occlusion by triggering the dilation of collateral arteries, which are arteries that bypass the blockage to allow blood to reach the necessary tissue regions. In some cases, the vasculature compensation is successful, but other cases result in significant morbidity and mortality. It is presently unknown why certain cases of PAD are restored to normal circulatory health while others progress to limb loss. There is currently no consistent method for assessing microvascular compensation. Counting the number of arterioles or capillaries in calf muscle and the number of vessel branches in the thigh are different methods that have been used previously to evaluate changes in vascular compensation following arterial occlusion in the leg. However, it is not understood how changes in each of these segments correlate to tissue perfusion and translate to changes in vascular resistance. The lack of consistent methods for assessing vascular compensation leads to uncertainty in the conclusions stated in many pre-clinical PAD studies. The experimental and theoretical approaches proposed here will advance the field of vascular biology by obtaining accurate vessel length and diameter data throughout an entire network using a novel experimental technique and implementing this data in a theoretical model that can predict whether increases in vessel diameters or vessel numbers are most significant in restoring normal perfusion in PAD.   

Amphetamines and neural control of body temperature

Faculty Mentor: Yaroslav Molkov

Derivatives of amphetamines are widely abused all over the world. After long-term use they lead to cognitive, neurophysiological, and neuroanatomical deficits. Neurophysiological deficits are enhanced by hyperthermia, which itself is a major mortality factor in drug abusers. Temperature responses to injections of methamphetamine are multiphasic and include both hypothermic and hyperthermic phases, which are highly dependent on ambient temperature and previous exposure to the drug. Also, various derivatives directly affect various neuromediator systems, such as dopaminergic, noradrenergic, serotonergic. Finally, body temperature is dependent on multiple thermoregulatory mechanisms and complex neuronal circuitry. Not surprising that studying effects of amphetamines is very difficult due to multiplicity of factors involved. Most of research is focused on simplified experimental settings which do not have any predictability on real-life situations. We consider modeling as a breakthrough tool to design studies of translational value.
The long term goal of our project is to construct a comprehensive and physiologically relevant model of doze-dependent temperature response to methamphetamine representing interconnected neural structures which are experimentally proven to be specific brain areas and cell groups. We will start with generating a pilot set of experimental data on effect of inhibition of neuronal activity in the dorsomedial hypothalamus of the rat on temperature responses to a single dose of methamphetamine