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Publication Title | Using Breath Analysis to Identify Aspergillosis in the Exhaled Breath of Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Patients

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 Individual Projects 

Using Breath Analysis to Identify Aspergillosis in the Exhaled Breath of Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Dina Abdo

Mentor: Donald Blake

Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis is a severe and detrimental fungal infection, where Aspergillus colonizes and damages lung tissue in Cystic Fibrosis patients. For these patients the high mortality rate associated with Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis is often due to a lack of efficient diagnostic techniques. Current techniques such as serological and radiological testing methods have been unsuccessful in accurately identifying Aspergillus in Cystic Fibrosis patients early enough to effectively treat. This study examined exhaled breath samples from ten pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Patients infected with Aspergillus, in an effort to identify a unique volatile gas profile for the fungus Aspergillus. Preliminary results indicate that there is an unknown gas biomarker given off in higher concentrations by some Cystic Fibrosis patients, when compared to the healthy control. In addition, the exhaled breath results also indicate a potential case for albuterol propellant compliance among the patients. This study demonstrates that there is at least one potential breath biomarker for Aspergillus, which could later provide a non-invasive approach to diagnosing Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis. Additional results indicate the potential for a normalized standard to reinforce the compliance of propellant use among Cystic Fibrosis patients.

Representations of the Raced Body in Modern Egypt

Marwa Aboubaker

Mentor: Nasrin Rahimieh

Following the construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1964, 50,000 Nubians were dislocated from their deeply rooted genealogy, community, and agricultural economy. Although the government was able to resettle these populations and memorialize certain ancient artifacts, the strong ties to their homeland could not be preserved. Furthermore, the Nubian diaspora has yet to receive adequate compensation for their loss and trauma. Such sentiments are translated and reproduced in the works of contemporary Nubian writers and activists. This minority subjectivity is responding to the greater discourse of Egyptian film and literature which continuously chooses to erase or write over the existence of black people. Drawing on works of fiction by Nubian

writers and cinematic representations of Nubians, my project traces the ways in which Egyptian modernity constructs the Nubians as racial others, marginal to the Arabized national identity. I have read the works of some contemporary Nubian writers such as Haggag Hassan Oddoul, Idris Ali, and Muhammad Khalil Qasim. In addition to watching Africano (2002) and older films with the renowned actor Ali Al-Kassar, I have also turned to Viola Shafik’s Popular Egyptian Cinema, which specifically deals with the role of Egyptian Cinema in constructing the Self of the nation. My exploration of themes and motifs in these works helps advance a more complex analysis of the tension between anti-blackness in material production with the ongoing plea for a genuine incorporation into the national imaginary by Nubian writers, filmmakers, and activists.

Preclinical Safety and Efficacy Studies of Marizomib (NPI 0052) in Xenograft Glioma Models Vivek Abraham

Mentor: Daniela Bota

The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy of Marizomib (NPI 0052), a proteasome inhibitor, in treating glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumors in xenograft murine models. The proteasome is an essential component for the survival and proliferation of GBM; therefore, one method of treatment would be through proteasome inhibition. Marizomib, due to its lipophilic structure, is theorized to cross the blood brain barrier. Additionally, proteasome inhibition is higher in Marizomib as compared to other proteasome inhibitors such as bortezomib and carfilzomib. While these two other drugs are approved to treat multiple myeloma and have little to no effect on GBM, Marizomib may be the necessary agent to treat glioma. To assess the drug’s potential of crossing the blood brain barrier and treating GBM immunocompromised mice were implanted with human GBM and were treated with Marizomib in order to analyze the survival data. The mice that were treated with Marizomib had a significant increase in survival as compared to the control mice. As a result, the study proves that Marizomib is capable of crossing the blood brain barrier and can reduce, and even eradicate, malignant GBM in the xenograft murine models. Due to the results of this experiment, a Phase I clinical trial of Marizomib is now being performed on patients with recurring GBM.

 Undergraduate Research: Growth through Innovation -1-

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