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USF Ranks as Top Research School

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 | Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

Time to brag a bit, Bulls!

USF recently ranked #19 on the top 25 colleges nationwide for its technology transfer. Technology transfer is defined as the ability to develop basic research into new technologies and companies.

The rankings are based on ability to issue patents and licenses on new technology, how much income is derived from licensing and how many startups are formed.

Only two other Florida universities made the list.

UCF tried their best... but they still came in three spots below us at #22.

Check out the article by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, here!



Colloquium Spotlight: Janine DeBlasi

Thursday, April 6th, 2017 | Tags: #cancer, #OUR, #OUR17, #prooxidant, #research, #vitaminc
Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

Janine DeBlasi OUR
Junior cellular and molecular biology major, Janine DeBlasi, presented her research during poster session 2 of the research colloquium.

DeBlasi's research studied vitamin C as a
pro-oxidant therapy.

"When it comes to cancer, increasing oxidative stress can be therapeutic," said DeBlasi.

When given to patients intravenously, vitamin C reaches high concentrations that can have a
pro-oxidative effect.

DeBlasi found that after 24 hours of treatment with 0.5 millimolar vitamin C and above, about 80% of the mouse-derived metastatic cancer cells were killed, which suggests an anti-cancer effect. She found the same effect on cell growth with concentrations as low as 0.05 millimollar vitamin C which inhibited the growth of the cell and is important information when assessing the efficacy of an anti-cancer therapy.

Effects of anti-oxidants on cancer cell death with vitamin C were also looked at. DeBlasi found that it prevents cell death from occurring which confirms that it's working through oxidative stress and is valuable information for clinical application.

Finally, DeBlasi looked at the effect of both hyperbaric oxygen therapy and vitamin C together.

Hyperbaric oxygen is an approved medical therapy for wound healing. DeBlasi found that at a lower, but pharmacologically relevant concentration of vitamin C, which can be achieved through IV, combined with a single session of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the there is a synergistic effect.

DeBlasi says her next step is to test this in the animal model to see the therapies' effects on survival and tumor progression.

"Hopefully this would translate into a clinical study if it does show more efficacy," said Deblasi.


Colloquium Spotlight: Ryan Lavorata

Thursday, April 6th, 2017 | Tags: #colloquium, #disability, #Ghana, #OUR17, #PWD, #research
Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

Sophomore finance major, Ryan Lavorata, presented his research on the mistreatment of persons with disabilities (PWD) in Ghana during Session 1 of the research colloquium.

RyanLavorata's global disabilities honors class led him to begin his research and find that over 5 million individuals (20% of the population) are living with disabilities in Ghana. His research was based on three questions:

In what ways are a person with disabilities being mistreated?

Are there laws that protect persons with disabilities?

What are the possible solutions for the mistreatment?

"Being a person with disability is Ghana carries a stigma because of their religion," said Lavorata, "children are looked at as curses and their parents are judged for their past sins."

Lavorata found that Ghana's institutions for PWD's are in dreadful and unsanitary conditions. PWD's are chained to the wall in the institution's living quarters. These quarters are similar to prison cells with cinderblock walls and a mere sleeping pad on the floor. Patients admitted undergo horrific treatment methods such as electroconvulsive shock therapy. However, not all PWD's are admitted into institutions. Lavorata also found cases where parents hid children in basements in order to escape the shame that Ghana's society associates with disabilities.

In effort to better PWD's living conditions, Act 715 was created in 2006 which gave PWD's access to transportation, all public places, free medical care, and education.

"Even though it's a good start, its not enough because they [Ghana] only put 1% of their economy towards it," said Lavorata.

Lavorata found some solutions that can begin to improve conditions for PWD's in Ghana:

Groups can petition for the government to change from institutional care to community care.
Amend the current laws and UN standards of rights for persons with disabilities.
Ghana Federation of Disability Organization who are working on amending Act 715 to make it more accommodating.
"I wanted to look into the mistreatment and abuse of persons with disabilities and it was just really shocking because I went into this knowing nothing about Ghana," said Lavorata.