Honors Projects for Bioengineering

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    Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Momordica charantia (Bitter Melon) in Adipose Tissue of Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Soares, Natasha ; Nerurkar, Pratibha ; Bioengineering
    Alternative therapies are of interest due to increasing incidences of chronic low-grade inflammatory diseases such as obesity. Momordica charantia (bitter melon, BM), has been demonstrated to reduce total body and adipose tissue weights in mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD). During obesity, elevated levels of monocyte chemo attractant protein-1 (MCP-1) recruit macrophages to infiltrate adipose tissues. Infiltrated macrophages mediate low-grade systemic and tissue-specific inflammation. We hypothesized that BM would reduce HFD-associated inflammation due to decreased plasma levels of MCP-1 found in mice fed HFD+BM. For 16 weeks, C57BL/6 male mice were treated with 1) control diet (4.8% fat), 2) control diet + BM (1.5% lyophilized powder, w/w), 3) HFD (58% fat), and 4) HFD + BM. Several inflammatory gene expressions from visceral adipose tissues were measured by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). Results suggest that BM reduced mRNA expression of macrophage infiltration (F4/80 and MCP-1), inflammatory (interleukin-1 beta, IL-1β, nuclear factor-kappaB1, NF-κB1, and toll-like receptor 4, TLR4), and adipose tissue differentiation (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, PPARγ) markers. Overall, BM lowered adipose tissue inflammation in HFD-fed mice. Findings from this research could potentially be used to determine molecular targets of BM to alleviate obesity-induced inflammation. Such studies are important as they offer low-cost alternatives for developing countries and lower health-care costs for standard long-term care in developed countries. [Public Health Service grants (R21AT003719) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, (G12 RR003061) Research Centers in Minority Institutions, and (2T34GM007684) Minority Access to Research Careers Program, NIH.]
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    Kava Expresso Machine
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-01-15) Rodriguez, Roberto ; Gautz, Loren ; Bioengineering
    Kava (Piper methysticum Forst F.), ‘awa in the Hawaiian language, has been utilized by the people of the South Pacific Islands, in particular Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Samoa for thousands of years during social and ceremonial occasions to promote a state of relaxation. Kava is currently consumed as an anxiolytic by many outside of these regions. This results in a market for a means to produce kava beverages without the need for manual mixing and straining techniques. To this end, design parameters including particle size, energy for size reduction, degree of saturation, and dewatering pressure were determined experimentally. A prototype was fabricated based on these parameters using a dual impeller mixing chamber and air filtration, according to FDA and 3A sanitary standards.
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    Amplicon Engineering for Improved Bacterial Detection Using Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP)
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2010-05-09) Miyamoto, Adam ; Jenkins, Daniel
    Ralstonia solanacearum is a bacterium which induces wilt in plants, and is best described as a species complex due to variability in host range, metabolism, and other biological characteristics (Kubota, Vine, Alvarez, Jenkins, 2008). R. solanacearum populations are found primarily in warm, humid areas of the tropics and sub-tropics having originated from various countries through this belt (“Ralstonia,” 2008). Although some strains posing the greatest risk to agriculture are contained to limited regions of the world, global trade in agricultural materials make R. solanacearum a threat to crop producing economies worldwide. In particular, R. solanacearum Race 3 Biovar 2 has been identified as a select agent in the Agricultural Bioterrorism Act of 2002 by the USDA (“Ralstonia,” 2008) due to its cold-tolerance which makes it a major risk to the potato industry in temperate regions such as the US and Canada.