Paul Reynolds, Physiology and Developmental Biology
Academic Objectives Met and Results Observed
Funding available through this MEG award has provided an opportunity for me to meet many academic objectives I’ve determined to be important in the early stages of my faculty appointment at BYU. First of all, I have been able to move my on site research program forward and involve many undergraduates in the process. Specific to the current MEG award, involved students and I have been able to accomplish the proposed research. We have been successful in conducting pilot studies that reveal possible roles for OctN1 in mechanisms of lung inflammation induced by and cigarette smoke (CS). Despite improvement in personal air quality during the past few decades, the rationale for studying mechanisms leading to adverse health effects remains important. This MEG award specifically provided opportunities for students to conduct meaningful research that led to the observation that alveolar epithelial cells and bronchiolar epithelial cells increased OctN1 transcription after exposure. Because previous data reveals that molecules with binding affinity for OctN1 are also induced, it was therefore an intriguing paradigm to consider the fact that the required molecules for signaling, while basally expressed under normal conditions, can be intensely activated in both the proximal and distal lung with the appropriate trigger.
I am happy to report that there are clear research directions now possible due to the initial work made possible by this MEG award. In fact, funding of this award made it possible to gather important preliminary data that have been used to successfully obtain and external research grant on the subject matter.
Funding available through the MEG program, and specifically the award I have received in 2012, has allowed for the generation of a more successful mentoring environment. I currently provide mentoring experiences for 23 undergraduates. The students in my lab will continue to be assembled in strata of varying degrees of experience. For example, the students currently working in the lab are committed for an average of about two years. They will be invaluable in the instruction of students that enter the lab during the current year. My goal is to layer the students in such a way that experienced graduate and undergraduate students lead teams of newer individuals so that both mutually benefit. As the students progress, they learn not only the methodology of the required techniques, but valuable problem solving skills, the ability to technically address scientific questions, and insight regarding how their specific research integrates into pulmonary biology as a whole. In addition to one-‐on-‐one and small group interactions with me as the faculty mentor regarding specific research issues, regularly scheduled laboratory meetings and broader discussion groups will continue to aid significantly in the development of these students. Research conducted in this type of mentoring environment will not only buttress their broad BYU undergraduate education, but it will also enhance the students’ motivation and opportunity for continued professional and graduate training at prominent research institutions throughout the United States.
Students Involved and Academic Deliverables
Since receiving this MEG award in 2012, I have mentored 33 undergraduate students within the PDBio department and 13 others in the MMBio, Chem Engineering, and Chem/Biochem Departments. 24 of my undergraduates and 18 undergraduates primarily performing research in the labs of our collaborators combined to co-‐author nine peer-‐reviewed manuscripts. Furthermore, 36 undergraduate students have been co-‐authors on abstracts submitted for presentation at national and international scientific conferences. These abstracts have or will be presented at the International Society for Developmental Biologists in Birmingham England (Sept 2013), Experimental Biology Meetings in Boston, MA (April 2013), the Experimental Biology Meetings in San Diego, CA (April 2014), the American Diabetes Association Meetings in San Francisco, CA (June 2013) and at the American Physiology Society Comparative Physiology Conference in San Diego, CA (October 2014). Six additional manuscripts are in various stages of review or preparation. Lastly, there has been a high rate of success relating to professional schools admission by students that have worked or are currently working in the lab. I anticipate similar success from lab alumni in the future.
For a complete listing of individual students and their accomplishments, please see the following page:
|Mentored Students||Abstracts||National Meeting||Publication|
Description of the Project-‐Specific Results
The main results have been published in peer-‐reviewed journals and the highlights are:
- Signaling in primary lung macrophages exposed to tobacco smoke is mediated in part by RAGE.
- Conditional RAGE expression in the adult murine lung models COPD due to the discovery that these mice have notable lung inflammation and emphysema.
- Conditional RAGE expression compromises the alveolar basement membrane in the progression of cell death observed in COPD.
- Primary lung macrophages exposed to environmental pollution utilize RAGE signaling during an inflammatory response.
- OctN1 is an epithelial transporter involved in membrane permeability disorders following smoke exposure.
The expenses for the project are categorized as undergraduate travel/salaries and lab supplies. Specifically, about $4,000 has been spent to offset undergraduate travel expenses incurred in relation to the meetings cited above. Approximately $7,000 has been spent on salaries and the remainder, $11,000, on lab supplies necessary for the completion of the work.