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    Do food delivery apps influence food waste generation? A stimulus-organism-behavior-consequence (SOBC) exploration
    (2024) Islam, Shabab Absarul; Jones, Robert Paul (TTU); Akhi, Asma Azad (TTU); Talukder, Md. Shamim
    Purpose Food waste in the hospitality sector has emerged as a global concern. Various technology-driven online food services such as the food delivery apps (FDA) contribute to hospitality food waste. FDA users might behave irresponsibly by ordering more foods than required which may lead to food waste generation. To date, limited studies have been attempted to understand how consumers’ over-ordering behavior through FDA result in hospitality food waste. Design/methodology/approach The authors used partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) to analyze survey data from 248 FDA users. Findings The results indicated that perceived convenience and trust positively influence consumers' attitude toward FDA, which in turn promotes over-ordering behavior. Interestingly, the anticipated positive relationship between price advantage and attitude toward FDA was not supported by the data. Furthermore, the authors confirmed that over-ordering behavior contributes to food waste, an outcome that has crucial implications for both the hospitality sector and sustainability efforts. Originality/value The current study employs the stimulus-organism-behavior-consequence (SOBC) theory to investigate the catalysts and consequences of over-ordering behavior via FDA. This study thus highlights the importance of the SOBC model in understanding consumer behavior.
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    – Distribution notes of Bassaricyon gabbii (Carnivora: Procyonidae) for Honduras, with comments on its ocurrence in the region Notas de distribución de Bassaricyon gabbii (Carnivora: Procyonidae) para Honduras, con comentarios de su ocurrencia para la region
    (2023) Turcios-Casco, Manfredo A.; Velásquez, Alejandro; García Almeida, Odair J.; Ordóñez-Garza, Nicté (TTU); López, Celeste M.
    Distribution notes of Bassaricyon gabbii (Carnivora: Procyonidae) for Honduras, with comments on its ocurrence in the region Bassaricyon gabbii is one of the least known species of procyonids in northern Central America. Here we describe a new record that corresponds to the third report for the country (since its last observation eleven years ago) and the southernmost for the species in Honduras. The olingo was observed in the Corralitos Wildlife Refuge in central Honduras, and is the first time it has been reported in a pine tree. All the records for Honduras correspond to core zones in protected areas, therefore, it could only depend on well-conserved forests in the country.
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    Recent photographic records, a new specimen, and a review of the distribution and habitat associations of Caluromys lanatus (Mammalia, Didelphidae) in Paraguay Registros fotográficos recientes, un nuevo espécimen y una revisión de la distribución y asociaciones de hábitat de Caluromys lanatus (Mammalia, Didelphidae) en Paraguay
    (2023) Owen, Robert D. (TTU); Weiler Gustafson, Andrea; Smith, Paul
    The brown-eared woolly opossum, Caluromys lanatus (Olfers, 1818), is distributed broadly in South America east of the Andes, including eastern and southern Paraguay. Nevertheless, its habitat and distribution are poorly documented in Paraguay by either specimens or photographs. We have compiled all known records from the scientific literature, specimens, and photographs of known provenance, to provide an updated evaluation of this opossum in Paraguay. We list and map 15 localities (including one likely erroneous), and provide comments on each of the records. In Paraguay the species is primarily associated with the Atlantic Forest, but may also be encountered in other habitats.
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    Exogenous control of dormancy and chemical regulation of germination in Texas wintergrass (Nassella leucotricha (Trin. & Rupr.) Pohl) seeds
    (2024) Turner, Nathaniel Jacob (TTU); Osti, Bandana (TTU); Kikanme, Kenneth N. (TTU); Angappan, Rameshkumar (TTU); Angeles-Shim, Rosalyn B. (TTU)
    Texas wintergrass (Nassella leucotricha (Trin. & Rupr.) Pohl) has potential as a cool-season forage but has not been used for such purpose due to its poor seed germination. This study focused on understanding the determinants of dormancy and identifying means of inducing maximum germination in Texas wintergrass toward making it more readily available for grazing systems. Scarification using sulfuric acid resulted in a significant improvement (≥50%) in the overall germination performance of the seeds. Chemical profiling of the seed coat identified diverse phenolic compounds, primarily in the form of flavonoids, which have been previously reported to induce seed dormancy in other plant species. Together, these results indicate the presence of exogenous dormancy in Texas wintergrass that prevents it from germinating even under optimum conditions. Treatment with low hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) titers in combination with scarification further increased seed germination up to 85%. This positive germination response is attributed to H2O2-induced weakening of the seed coat that makes it semipermeable, oxidation and leaching of phenolic inhibitors of germination, and hydrolysis of H2O2 that provides seeds with access to more water and O2. Additionally, treatment with low H2O2 concentrations within the first 24 h of water uptake downregulated abscisic aldehyde oxidase (AAO3) and upregulated abscisic 8′ hydroxylase (A8H1) expression. AAO3 converts abscisic aldehyde into abscisic acid (ABA), whereas A8H1 breaks down ABA to produce phaseic acid. Treatment with the phytohormones gibberellic acid (GA) and 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) in combination with scarification also improved the germination performance of Texas wintergrass, with BAP producing better results than GA.
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    Positive Youth Development in Colombia: Reflections on a Cross-cultural Collaboration Desarrollo juvenil positivo en Colombia: Reflexiones a partir de una colaboración transcultural
    (2023) Dodd, Sara (TTU); Vásquez, Nadia Moratto; Gomez, Paulina Vélez (TTU); Acosta, Daniela Sánchez; Gonzales, Gloria (TTU)
    This paper shares the story and reflections of an international collaboration aimed at cross-culturally adapting the United Future Leaders (UFL) program, originally developed in the United States (U.S.), for Colombian youth. The paper provides a comprehensive description of how the collaboration has unfolded from three perspectives: Conceptual (theoretical), functional (program adaptation), and reflective (insights from the collaboration team). Rooted in Lerner’s and Lerner’s Positive Youth Development model, UFL provides participants with an active learning experience focused on developing leadership competencies that promote the development of character, ethics, and civility. For the adaptation study, two schools (one public and one private) were chosen to represent the general population of the city of Medellín (Colombia). The paper describes how UFL is delivered in the U.S., the research activities that were undertaken to ensure methodological rigor for the adaptation process and the content and implementation of the pilot activities. Subsequently, the collaboration team reflects on the different perceptions and understandings of what it means to establish a PYD program such as UFL in Medellin, Colombia. Finally, it is discussed how adapting and implementing programs guided by PYD principles is a promising approach for Colombian youth.
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    Shifting agriculture and a depleting aquifer: implications of row-crop farming on mule deer population performance
    (2023) Heffelfinger, Levi J.; Hewitt, David G.; Deyoung, Randy W.; Fulbright, Timothy E.; Harveson, Louis A.; Conway, Warren C. (TTU); Gray, Shawn S.
    Context: Conversion of native vegetation to cropland is one of the most widespread anthropogenic landscape alterations, particularly in the Great Plains region of the United States. Mule deer occur throughout the Great Plains; however, it is the south-eastern edge of their geographical distribution, and few populations coincide with dense cropland. The rapidly depleting Ogallala Aquifer supplies irrigation to row-crops throughout the region, which will likely shift towards dryland agricultural practices in the near future. Aims: We sought to understand how cropland use influences morphology, body condition indices, reproductive output, and survival of free-ranging mule deer. Methods: We accumulated a multi-year, longitudinal dataset of movement and morphology for 146 mule deer in the Texas Panhandle. We linked seasonal cropland use with observed morphology, body condition metrics, and reproductive output via linear mixed-effect modelling and assessed the influence of cropland on annual survival by using Cox proportional hazard models. Key results: Mule deer that did not use cropland at any time during the year exhibited morphological and nutritional indices similar to those that did; except body-fat percentage being greater for mature (≥4-year-old) males that used cropland. Further, cropland use did not predict survival probability. Analyses of cropland use during seasons defined by life-stage showed context-dependent nutritional benefits. Use of cropland during winter following reproduction demonstrated an increase in young (≤3-year-old) male antler size and body mass and summer crop use increased body condition for all males. Female mule deer that utilised cropland before pregnancy had increased probability of successful reproduction, demonstrating a potential capital investment strategy in reproduction. Conclusions: Cropland does not limit morphology or survival of mule deer; however, additive use of row-crops can provide a nutritional buffer and enhanced reproductive output for individuals that choose to utilise it. Implications: Our study demonstrates important population-level interactions with the environment for a species near the extent of their geographical distribution. Conversion of row-crop farming from aquifer depletion or climate shifts may not diminish mule deer populations, but these changes may alter specific habitat-nutritional health relationships that can influence population performance and future conservation efforts.
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    Simplex2vec Backward: From Vectors Back to Simplicial Complex
    (2023) Zhan, Huixin (TTU); Zhang, Kun; Chen, Zhong; Sheng, Victor S. (TTU)
    Simplicial neural networks (SNNs) were proposed to generate higher-order simplicial complex representations as vectors that encode not only pairwise relationships but also higher-order interactions between nodes. Although these vectors allowing us to consider richer data representations compared to typical graph convolution, most real-world graphs associated with molecule or human-related activities are often sensitive and might contain confidential information, e.g., molecular geometry or friend lists. However, little works investigate the potential threats for these simplicial complexes (higher-order interactions between nodes). We name this threat by Simplicial Complexes Reconstruction Attack (SCRA) and conduct this attack by studying whether the vectors can be inverted to (approximately) recover the simplicial complexes who used to generate them. Specifically, we first generate the vectors via a k-simplex2vec approach that extends the node2vec algorithm to simplices of higher dimensions to associate Euclidean vectors to simplicial complexes. We then present a Simplex2vec Backward algorithm to perform the SCRA on k-simplex2vec vectors by pointwise mutual information (PMI) matrix reconstruction.
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    No-Fly-Zone: Regulating Drone Fly-Overs Via Government and User-Controlled Authorization Zones
    (2023) Kamal, Abdullah; Vidaurri, Jeremy (TTU); Rubio-Medrano, Carlos
    Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAVs), a.k.a., drones, are becoming increasingly popular, as several companies are incorporating them into highly-convenient, last-mile delivery systems. Given this market, concerns with non-consensual surveillance and destruction of drones and private property have been raised. To address these concerns, this paper presents No-Fly-Zone, a solution that proposes developing a series of physical spaces, a.k.a., zones, that utilize Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) to allow users, e.g., homeowners, to define flight authorization for drones. With zones that highlight no-fly air-spaces, companies will be able to launch their drones with a lowered chance of human interference or liability, allowing for property owners to determine which level of privacy they wish to enforce. Moreover, using a map that incorporates zoning preferences, a drone path planning algorithm can safely designate a path for any commercial drone flight. No-Fly-Zone also provides a a user-friendly application for collecting and deploying zoning data to pathing algorithms with limited setbacks, thus encouraging the future integration of No-Fly-Zone with existing and future drone flight management systems.
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    Age Differences in the Associations Between Incarceration and Subsequent Substance Use, Sexual Risk-Taking, and Incident STI Among Black Sexual Minority Men and Black Transgender Women in the HIV Prevention Trials 061 Cohort
    (2023) Feelemyer, Jonathan; Abrams, Jasmyn; Mazumdar, Medha; Irvine, Natalia M.; Scheidell, Joy D.; Turpin, Rodman E.; Dyer, Typhanye V.; Brewer, Russell A.; Hucks-Ortiz, Christopher; Caniglia, Ellen C.; Remch, Molly; Scanlon, Faith (TTU); Gaydos, Charlotte A.; Sandh, Simon; Cleland, Charles M.; Mayer, Kenneth H.; Khan, Maria R.
    Incarceration can lead to different risk behaviors often due to increased distress and disruption of social networks. It is not well known, however, how these associations may differ by age. In this study, we measure age differences in longitudinal associations between incarceration and substance use, sex risk, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) among Black sexual minority men and Black transgender women (BSMM/BTW). We recruited BSMM/BTW from 2009 to 2011 that were part of the HIV Prevention Trials Network 061 study. We compared those less than 30 years old (n = 375) to those 30 years old or greater (n = 794) examining substance use, sex risk, and STI infection stratified by age. Logistic regression with inverse probability weighting was used for the statistical analysis. Approximately 59% of the sample reported incarceration history. In adjusted analysis, incarceration was more strongly associated with alcohol use and stimulant use among older individuals as was sexual risk behaviors including buying and selling sex. Concurrent partnerships were associated with the younger age groups. STI incidence was associated with younger individuals while associations with HIV infection were similar for the two age groups. Understanding differences in substance use and STI risk among age cohorts is imperative to the design and implementation of re-entry programs. Younger BSMM/BTW participating in re-entry support programs may benefit in particular from HIV/STI prevention and care efforts, while post-release substance abuse treatment and harm reduction programs should target older individuals with continued substance abuse.
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    Open questions in the social lives of viruses
    (2023) Leeks, Asher; Bono, Lisa M. (TTU); Ampolini, Elizabeth A.; Souza, Lucas S.; Höfler, Thomas; Mattson, Courtney L.; Dye, Anna E.; Díaz-Muñoz, Samuel L.
    Social interactions among viruses occur whenever multiple viral genomes infect the same cells, hosts, or populations of hosts. Viral social interactions range from cooperation to conflict, occur throughout the viral world, and affect every stage of the viral lifecycle. The ubiquity of these social interactions means that they can determine the population dynamics, evolutionary trajectory, and clinical progression of viral infections. At the same time, social interactions in viruses raise new questions for evolutionary theory, providing opportunities to test and extend existing frameworks within social evolution. Many opportunities exist at this interface: Insights into the evolution of viral social interactions have immediate implications for our understanding of the fundamental biology and clinical manifestation of viral diseases. However, these opportunities are currently limited because evolutionary biologists only rarely study social evolution in viruses. Here, we bridge this gap by (1) summarizing the ways in which viruses can interact socially, including consequences for social evolution and evolvability; (2) outlining some open questions raised by viruses that could challenge concepts within social evolution theory; and (3) providing some illustrative examples, data sources, and conceptual questions, for studying the natural history of social viruses.
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    A Computational Geospatial Approach to Assessing Land-Use Compatibility in Urban Planning
    (2023) Mansourihanis, Omid (TTU); Maghsoodi Tilaki, Mohammad Javad; Yousefian, Samira; Zaroujtaghi, Ayda (TTU)
    Amidst rapid urbanization, sustainable development requires moving beyond subjective land-use planning techniques toward innovative computational geospatial models. This paper introduces a GIS-based quantitative framework to enable objective, rigorous land-use compatibility analysis. Uniquely, the model evaluates radial impacts and expert-defined criteria across multiple scales, overcoming the limitations of qualitative approaches. Cell-by-cell computation identifies emerging spatial conflicts with enhanced realism. A case study in Qaemshahr, Iran, demonstrated the model’s proficiency in revealing incompatibilities and hotspots, surpassing conventional methodologies. Quantitative analysis provided accurate, transparent insights for evidence-based planning and consistency in evaluation. Ongoing improvements through 3D, real-time data integration and machine learning will further the objectivity. While extensive testing across diverse urban contexts is still needed, this pioneering computational technique marks a transition from subjective to objective methodologies. Situated at the intersection of geographic information science and urban planning, this study serves as a launchpad for advancing robust geospatial models to shape more equitable, resilient urban futures amidst complex sustainability challenges. The development of rigorous computational techniques remains fundamental, and the present innovative model can be used to provide objective, scientifically grounded compatibility analyses to guide land-use planning.
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    Numerical simulation of slug flow in pipelines using drift flux constitutive equations for gas-viscous oil two-phase flow
    (2023) Pugliese, Victor (TTU); Buelvas, Ana; Pupo-Roncallo, Oscar
    Transient simulation of multiphase flow in pipes has been performed using Two-Fluid Model and Drift-Flux Model. The main advantage of the Drift-Flux Model is the reduced number of differential equations, which results in a lower computational time. However, the accuracy of the model depends on a suitable constitutive equation for the velocity of the dispersed phase, commonly, the gas phase. The gas velocity constitutive equation includes two important parameters, namely, the distribution coefficient and the void-fraction-weighted drift velocity. A drift-flux-model code was developed, by using the Finite Volume Method (FVM) with staggered grid system, to evaluate the effect of highly viscous liquid and pipe geometry (pipe diameter and pipe inclination) in the prediction of liquid hold-up and pressure drop gradient. The gas phase compressibility was also included in the model. The results show that the energy consumption to pump the fluids through the lift system has been overestimated when highly viscous liquids are produced. For the case of a vertical upward flow, the overestimation can be up to 10 % of energy consumption. We strongly recommend incorporating the effects of pipe inclination and liquid viscosity into the estimation of the Distribution Coefficient of the dispersed phase, encompassing both C0 and gas drift velocity.
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    Chronic Thermogenic Dietary Supplement Consumption: Effects on Body Composition, Anthropometrics, and Metabolism
    (2023) Siedler, Madelin R. (TTU); Rodriguez, Christian (TTU); White, Sarah J. (TTU); Tinoco, Ethan (TTU); DeHaven, Brielle (TTU); Brojanac, Alexandra (TTU); LaValle, Christian (TTU); Rasco, Jaylynn (TTU); Taylor, Lem W.; Tinsley, Grant M. (TTU)
    Multi-ingredient thermogenic supplements can acutely increase resting energy expenditure (REE) and subjective energy. However, less is understood about the effects of chronic consumption on body composition, metabolism, and subjective variables such as mood, sleep quality, and eating behaviors. Fifty-two healthy, exercise-trained participants (50% female; mean ± SD age: 23.5 ± 3.0 years; body fat percentage: 27.3 ± 8.0%) were randomized 2:2:1 to take a whey protein supplement alone (PRO; n = 20), in combination with a thermogenic supplement (PRO + FB; n = 19), or no supplement at all (CON; n = 13) for four weeks. Body composition, anthropometric, metabolic, hemodynamic, and subjective outcomes were collected before and after the intervention. Greater changes in REE occurred in PRO + FB as compared to CON (111.2 kcal/d, 95% CI 2.4 to 219.9 kcal/d, p = 0.04), without significant differences between PRO and CON (42.7 kcal/d, 95% CI −65.0 to 150.3 kcal/d, p = 0.61) or between PRO + FB and PRO (68.5 kcal/d, 95% CI −28.3, 165.3, p = 0.21). No changes in hemodynamic outcomes (blood pressure and heart rate) were observed. In exercising adults, four weeks of supplementation with protein and a multi-ingredient thermogenic product maintained fasted REE as compared to no supplementation, for which a decrease in REE was observed, without differential effects on body composition, anthropometrics, or subjective variables.
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    Association of Dietary Changes with Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes among Older Adults in Sharpeville, South Africa, from 2004 to 2014
    (2023) Lee, Hyunjung; Moyo, Gugulethu T.; Theophilus, Rufus J.; Oldewage-Theron, Wilna (TTU)
    This study aimed to evaluate the associations of dietary changes with risk factors of type 2 diabetes among older populations in Sharpeville, South Africa. A 24 h recall assessment, dietary diversity, and anthropometrics were measured. Blood samples were collected to assess fasting glucose and insulin. Regression analysis was performed using SPSS version 20. The mean BMI of the total of 103 participants was 30.63 kg/m2 at baseline and 29.66 kg/m2 at follow-up. Significantly higher BMI levels were reported in women than men both at baseline (p = 0.003) and follow-up (p = 0.009). Waist circumference significantly decreased from 96.20 cm to 93.16 cm (p = 0.046). The mean levels of HOMA-B significantly increased from 88.99 to 111.19 (p = 0.021). BMI was positively associated with intakes of total energy (p = 0.22), polyunsaturated fatty acids (p = 0.050), and cholesterol (p = 0.006). Waist circumference was strongly associated with total energy (p = 0.048), polyunsaturated fatty acids (p = 0.037), trans fatty acids (p = 0.039), and cholesterol (p = 0.000). HOMA-IR and HOMA-B were associated with intakes of fat (HOMA-IR: p = 0.013; HOMA-B: p = 0.040) and monounsaturated fatty acids (HOMA-IR: p = 0.003; HOMA-B: p = 0.040).
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    Gamete Recognition Gene Divergence Yields a Robust Eutherian Phylogeny across Taxonomic Levels
    (2023) Roberts, Emma K. (TTU); Wright, Emily A. (TTU); Worsham, Asha E. (TTUHSC); Hardy, Daniel M. (TTUHSC); Bradley, Robert D. (TTU)
    The extraordinary morphological diversity among extant mammals poses a challenge for studies of speciation, adaptation, molecular evolution, and reproductive isolation. Despite the recent wealth of molecular studies on mammalian phylogenetics, uncertainties remain surrounding both ancestral and more recent divergence events that have proven difficult to resolve. Multi-gene datasets, especially including genes that are highly divergent, often provide increased support for higher-level affinities within Mammalia; however, such analyses require vast amounts of genomic sequence data and at times, intensive, high-performance computational effort. Furthermore, despite the large-scale efforts dedicated to comprehensive, multi-gene phylogenetic analyses using a combination of mitochondrial, nuclear, and other sequences (e.g., tRNA, ultra-conserved elements, and transposable elements), many relationships across Mammalia remain highly controversial. To offer another approach and provide a phylogenetic solution to this longstanding issue, here we present a phylogenetic tool based on a single reproductive molecular marker, zonadhesin (gene: Zan), one of two known mammalian speciation genes, which encodes the rapidly evolving sperm protein zonadhesin that mediates species-specific adhesion to the egg and thereby promotes reproductive isolation among placental mammals (Eutheria). Topological comparison of Zan Maximum Likelihood phylogenies to a nearly complete mammalian supertree confirmed Zan’s striking phylogenetic utility and resolution at both deeper and more terminal nodes in the placental mammalian phylogeny. This single gene marker yielded an equivalent and/or superiorly supported topology in comparison to a supertree generated using DNA sequences from a supermatrix of 31 genes from 5911 species (extinct and extant). Resolution achieved with this new phylogenetic approach provides unique insights into the divergence of both early and recent mammalian radiations. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the utility of zonadhesin as a singular molecular marker was especially useful in clades where sufficient taxon sampling is impossible to achieve, and where only a subset of members of the mammalian species tree is available. The eutherian relationships presented here provide a foundation for future studies in the reconstruction of mammalian classifications, including reproductive isolation, hybridization, and biodiversification of species.
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    Measuring magnetic force field distributions in microfluidic devices: Experimental and numerical approaches
    (2023) Strayer, Jacob; Choe, Hyeon; Wu, Xian; Weigand, Mitchell; Gómez-Pastora, Jenifer (TTU); Zborowski, Maciej; Chalmers, Jeffrey J.
    Precisely and accurately determining the magnetic force and its spatial distribution in microfluidic devices is challenging. Typically, magnetic microfluidic devices are designed in a way to both maximize the force within the separation region and to minimize the necessity for knowing such details—such as designing magnetic geometries that create regions of nearly constant magnetic force or that dictate the behavior of the magnetic force to be highly predictable in a specified region. In this work, we present a method to determine the spatial distribution of the magnetic force field in a magnetic microfluidic device by particle tracking magnetophoresis. Polystyrene microparticles were suspended in a paramagnetic fluid, gadolinium, and this suspension was exposed to various magnetic field geometries. Polystyrene particle motion was tracked using a microscope and images processed using Fiji (ImageJ). From a sample with a large spatial distribution of particle tracks, the magnetic force field distribution was calculated. The force field distribution was fitted to nonlinear spatial distribution models. These experimental models are compared to and supported by 3D simulations of the magnetic force field in COMSOL.
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    Formalizing Invertebrate Morphological Data: A Descriptive Model for Cuticle-Based Skeleto-Muscular Systems, an Ontology for Insect Anatomy, and their Potential Applications in Biodiversity Research and Informatics
    (2023) Girón, Jennifer C. (TTU); Tarasov, Sergei; González Montaña, Luis Antonio; Matentzoglu, Nicolas; Smith, Aaron D.; Koch, Markus; Boudinot, Brendon E.; Bouchard, Patrice; Burks, Roger; Vogt, Lars; Yoder, Matthew; Osumi-Sutherland, David; Friedrich, Frank; Beutel, Rolf G.; Mikó, István
    The spectacular radiation of insects has produced a stunning diversity of phenotypes. During the past 250 years, research on insect systematics has generated hundreds of terms for naming and comparing them. In its current form, this terminological diversity is presented in natural language and lacks formalization, which prohibits computer-assisted comparison using semantic web technologies. Here we propose a Model for Describing Cuticular Anatomical Structures (MoDCAS) which incorporates structural properties and positional relationships for standardized, consistent, and reproducible descriptions of arthropod phenotypes. We applied the MoDCAS framework in creating the ontology for the Anatomy of the Insect Skeleto-Muscular system (AISM). The AISM is the first general insect ontology that aims to cover all taxa by providing generalized, fully logical, and queryable, definitions for each term. It was built using the Ontology Development Kit (ODK), which maximizes interoperability with Uberon (Uberon multispecies anatomy ontology) and other basic ontologies, enhancing the integration of insect anatomy into the broader biological sciences. A template system for adding new terms, extending, and linking the AISM to additional anatomical, phenotypic, genetic, and chemical ontologies is also introduced. The AISM is proposed as the backbone for taxon-specific insect ontologies and has potential applications spanning systematic biology and biodiversity informatics, allowing users to: 1) use controlled vocabularies and create semiautomated computer-parsable insect morphological descriptions; 2) integrate insect morphology into broader fields of research, including ontology-informed phylogenetic methods, logical homology hypothesis testing, evo-devo studies, and genotype to phenotype mapping; and 3) automate the extraction of morphological data from the literature, enabling the generation of large-scale phenomic data, by facilitating the production and testing of informatic tools able to extract, link, annotate, and process morphological data. This descriptive model and its ontological applications will allow for clear and semantically interoperable integration of arthropod phenotypes in biodiversity studies.
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    Unveiling a Biomarker Signature of Meningioma: The Need for a Panel of Genomic, Epigenetic, Proteomic, and RNA Biomarkers to Advance Diagnosis and Prognosis
    (2023) Halabi, Reem; Dakroub, Fatima; Haider, Mohammad Z.; Patel, Stuti; Amhaz, Nayef A.; Reslan, Mohammad A.; Eid, Ali H.; Mechref, Yehia (TTU); Darwiche, Nadine; Kobeissy, Firas; Omeis, Ibrahim; Shaito, Abdullah A.
    Meningiomas are the most prevalent primary intracranial tumors. The majority are benign but can undergo dedifferentiation into advanced grades classified by World Health Organization (WHO) into Grades 1 to 3. Meningiomas’ tremendous variability in tumor behavior and slow growth rates complicate their diagnosis and treatment. A deeper comprehension of the molecular pathways and cellular microenvironment factors implicated in meningioma survival and pathology is needed. This review summarizes the known genetic and epigenetic aberrations involved in meningiomas, with a focus on neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) and non-NF2 mutations. Novel potential biomarkers for meningioma diagnosis and prognosis are also discussed, including epigenetic-, RNA-, metabolomics-, and protein-based markers. Finally, the landscape of available meningioma-specific animal models is overviewed. Use of these animal models can enable planning of adjuvant treatment, potentially assisting in pre-operative and post-operative decision making. Discovery of novel biomarkers will allow, in combination with WHO grading, more precise meningioma grading, including meningioma identification, subtype determination, and prediction of metastasis, recurrence, and response to therapy. Moreover, these biomarkers may be exploited in the development of personalized targeted therapies that can distinguish between the 15 diverse meningioma subtypes.
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    First record of invasive Stenochrus portoricensis Chamberlin, 1922 (Arachnida: Schizomida: Hubbardiidae) from the Southern region of Brazil
    (2023) Hernandes, Fabio Akashi; Cokendolpher, James Craig (TTU); Pinho, Luiz Carlos
    Herein we report for the first time a schizomid for the Southern region of Brazil, Stenochrus portoricensis Chamberlin, 1922 (Schizomida: Hubbardiidae), found in association with termite nests. This is the southernmost record of any schizomid for the Neotropical region. We hypothesize that the species was recently introduced by the sudden population growth of Florianópolis – along with the intense touristic activity – which might have contributed to the inadvertent transportation of this species.
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    Kinetic and Parametric Analysis of the Separation of Ultra-Small, Aqueous Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticle Suspensions under Quadrupole Magnetic Fields
    (2023) Ciannella, Stefano (TTU); Wu, Xian; González-Fernández, Cristina (TTU); Rezaei, Bahareh; Strayer, Jacob; Choe, Hyeon; Wu, Kai; Chalmers, Jeffrey; Gomez-Pastora, Jenifer (TTU)
    Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) have gathered tremendous scientific interest, especially in the biomedical field, for multiple applications, including bioseparation, drug delivery, etc. Nevertheless, their manipulation and separation with magnetic fields are challenging due to their small size. We recently reported the coupling of cooperative magnetophoresis and sedimentation using quadrupole magnets as a promising strategy to successfully promote SPION recovery from media. However, previous studies involved SPIONs dispersed in organic solvents (non-biocompatible) at high concentrations, which is detrimental to the process economy. In this work, we investigate, for the first time, the magnetic separation of 20 nm and 30 nm SPIONs dispersed in an aqueous medium at relatively low concentrations (as low as 0.5 g·L−1) using our custom, permanent magnet-based quadrupole magnetic sorter (QMS). By monitoring the SPION concentrations along the vessel within the QMS, we estimated the influence of several variables in the separation and analyzed the kinetics of the process. The results obtained can be used to shed light on the dynamics and interplay of variables that govern the fast separation of SPIONs using inexpensive permanent magnets.