Title: Socioeconomic drivers of yard sustainable practices in a tropical city
A growing body of work has emphasized the importance of residential areas to the overall green infrastructure of cities and recognizes that outcomes related to these areas are best studied using a social-ecological approach. We conducted vegetation surveys to evaluate yard practices that relate to the state of the yard vegetation, including species diversity and abundance, vegetation structure, and the percent of green area of yards versus paved areas, at the Río Piedras watershed within the San Juan metropolitan area. We used concomitant social household surveys to evaluate the association of social-economic and demographic factors at the household scale with these vegetation characteristics, as well as with landscape-level characteristics related to urban morphology and elevation. Our results for this tropical site were consistent with studies elsewhere in that a greater number of social factors at the household scale were more important in explaining the traits related to how green the yards were. On the other hand, we failed to detect the so-called luxury effect on urban vegetation encountered at many sites. Instead, we found consistent vegetation associations with the age of the residents, housing ownership, and, most importantly, with yard size. We have discussed the potential reasons for these discrepancies and the potential consequences of the human–natural links at the household scale to the future dynamics of this portion of the green infrastructure within this urban watershed.
Title: Identification of Yersinia Pestis Effector Protein YopE Suppressors using Yeast as a Model System.
Facultative anaerobic organisms, such as Yersinia pestis, have evolved numerous strategies to infect humans and animals by destroying host cell defenses in order to establish inside the bodies. Y. pestis, formerly called Pasteurella pestis, has six main effector proteins that it injects into the immune cells causing fatal effects on the innate immune system. Recent studies using Saccharomyces cerevisiae model system have produced significant advances for understanding the bacteria and the effector proteins deleterious effects on the cells. Our research focused on identifying suppressors for bacterial protein YopE, which inhibits growth in the yeast cells and disrupts the ability of the immune defenses to eliminate the pathogen. In order to find any inhibitors numerous methods were performed. The solid medium was created to have the yeast culture develop with the appropriate dropout mixture. Lithium acetate yeast transformation was performed to introduce the bacterial DNA into the yeast cells. Continuous processes involved a replica process, a frogging procedure to observe potential development of colonies and finally identification of effector protein YopE inhibitors. Suppressors were identified successfully after completing the processes. Collectively, our results demonstrate that the genetic model system used in this research proved to be an excellent model to exploit examination of various YopE inhibitors.
Title: Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN)
A Research Collaboration Focused On Chronic Disease In The Eastern Caribbean: The Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network is a collaborative research study that examines the lifestyles, eating habits, and health behaviors associated with cancer, diabetes and heart disease in adult men and women living in the Eastern Caribbean. Funded by the National Institute for Minority Health Disparities (NIMHD), ECHORN presents a unique opportunity to identify risk and protective factors for chronic disease in a diverse population over time.