April 5 Graduate Student Seminar

Nyssa Bulkes, a Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow in the Illinois Language and Literacy Initiative, and Jamila Hedhli, a Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow in the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, present their research at the Graduate Student Seminar held at noon Wed., April 5, in Room 1005 Beckman. Lunch is provided.

Everything in its rightful plcae?: Neurocognitive effects of sentential constraint in early stages of visual word recognition

Nyssa Bulkes, Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow, Illinois Language and Literacy Initiative

During skilled reading, information that is processed early on affects the information that is processed later on. Specifically, as a linguistic representation unfolds, the more informative a prior context, the more specifically a person can prepare and formulate predictions about what is upcoming in a sentence. Prior research illustrates that the amount of constraint is directly proportionate to the degree of expectation we have when we read, where more informative, constraining contexts lead to more specific linguistic predictions and that these predictions are so nuanced as to include expectations for which letters will occur in a visual string and what order they should appear in. In this talk, I discuss results from two studies that show that while constraint guides linguistic expectations, early visual processing is only encumbered in cases where what is encountered is drastically different from what is expected. Particularly in cases of a highly constraining sentence preamble, near-matches to an expected visual string can be though of as "good enough" in early processing. Further, these results illustrate how orthographic anomalies affect downstream integrative processes. Results are discussed in line with models of visual wordform processing.

Multimodal assessment of mesenchymal stem cell therapy for diabetic vascular complications

Jamila Hedhli, Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow, Bioimaging Science and Technology Group

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a debilitating complication of diabetes mellitus (DM) that leads to thousands of injuries, amputations, and deaths each year. The use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a regenerative therapy holds the promise of regrowing injured vasculature, helping DM patients live healthier and longer lives. We report the use of muscle-derived MSCs to treat surgically-induced hindlimb ischemia in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes (DM-1). We serially evaluate several facets of the recovery process, including αvβ3-integrin expression (a marker of angiogenesis), blood perfusion, and muscle function. We also perform microarray transcriptomics experiments to characterize the gene expression states of the MSC-treated ischemic tissues, and compare the results with those of non-ischemic tissues, as well as ischemic tissues from a saline-treated control group. In my talk I will present recent work describing the development of a novel αvβ3-integrin targeted PET-CT tracer (64Cu-PEG4-cRGD2), and its use in evaluating the potential use of muscle-derived mesenchymal stem cells in stimulating angiogenesis and potentially improving muscle function in diabetic mice with hind limb ischemia.