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Creative Approaches to Building Community Research Partnerships: Resources and Collaborations

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 4:30pm

Moderator: Robin A. Robinson, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Session Description

The purpose of this interdisciplinary breakout session is to present several different approaches to the perception, creation, and implementation of community engaged research partnerships, and the range of funding sources that support them. Panelists will present brief descriptions of their projects and funding, followed by the UMass Dartmouth Research Development Manager’s insights and suggestions concerning the funding of successful matches of academic researchers and community research partners.

Session Presenters, Titles and Descriptions

Caitlin M. Stover, PhD, RN, PHCNS-BC, CNE, College of Nursing, Department of Community Nursing

Community Based Participatory Research with Community Health Workers of the Southcoast Region

My community partner and I had several ideas and projects that we wanted to work on together. To help organize our thoughts and deliverables, we applied for a spot in the first cohort of the Community Based Participatory Research Academy, a grant funded week-long course presented by the University Of Michigan School Of Public Health and the Detroit Urban Research Center. Spending a week with community engaged researchers and community leaders focused the academic-community partnership of UMass Dartmouth College of Nursing Assistant Professor Caitlin Stover and Community Leader Kathleen Murphy to promote the health of Southcoast region by mobilizing and building the capacity of Community Health Workers in the region. Monthly guided video conferences/workshops/virtual communications conducted by our assigned mentors (one community based mentor and one academic mentor) and the core of community engaged researchers assisted us in receiving a non-competitive Community Partnership Building Grant, creating and accomplishing short and long term goals, all while providing expert mentorship in applying the CBPR tenets to our work.

Andrea Klimt, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology & Anthropology

Pride of Place: The Potential of Collaborative Photography

The Fall River Portraits project brought together university sociology and anthropology students, local high school students, and senior citizens to photographically document the complex social realities of a small economically-struggling Massachusetts city. Project photographers documented the impact of decades of economic decline on the social fabric and built environment of this urban space as well as evidence of cultural vibrancy and resilience in the city’s various neighborhoods. The resulting visual narratives fostered a pride of place and hopeful sense of self-recognition amongst local residents and encouraged the thoughtful engagement with local realities of participating college students. This project was funded by the UMass President's Office, Creative Economy Award.

Christina Cipriano, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology

Class Interrupted: Improving Under-studied Classroom Environments

Funded by the William T. Grant Foundation and recently, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the RELATE Project has been conducting systematic investigations of self-contained classrooms over the past four years across the Northeast. Towards the end of improving outcomes for students and educators in self-contained special education classrooms, we are advancing the science of classroom observation and improving the quality of educational experiences, one classroom at a time. To date, our work has resulted in a new psychometrically validated tool for evaluating effective interactions in these classrooms and an ecologically valid team-based professional development approach for teacher-paraeducator teams.

Robin A. Robinson, PhD, PsyD, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology & Anthropology

Psychological Foundations of Power and Relational Abuse Amongst Rural and Small-Town Teens

Initially funded by a pilot grant from the UMass Medical School CTSA-CER Pilot Program, and in community partnership with the Cape Cod Justice for Youth Collaborative and other member agencies of the Barnstable County Council for Children, Youth, and Families, this multi-stage project addressed the question: What are the conscious and unconscious psychological processes and power dynamics that explain behaviors associated with “teen dating violence”? The strong collaborative, and integrated, relationship that already existed between the PI and community partners contributed to the success of this pilot study, and facilitated new alliances amongst ancillary agencies. Collaborations has included regional organization of focus groups across Barnstable County (Cape Cod) to produce a data pool of first-person perspectives of teen relationships and violence in contexts of community challenges and supports. The work has considered diverse social and economic contexts as variable forces that affect psychological processes, to explore the psychology of teen relational abuse.

Mary Hensel, Research Development Manager, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Research Development Strategies for Community Engaged Research Partnerships

Chronic Pain Case Management in Opioid Patients: Improving Risk Management and Shifting Prescriber Behavior in a Rural Community Health Center

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 4:30pm


Andy Lowe, Director of Program Management Resources, Outer Cape Health Services


- Barbara K. Prazak, MD, Internal Medicine, Medical Director, Director of Clinical Quality Outer Cape Health Services

- Ellen Dennehy, PA-C, Physician Assistant, Family Medicine, Outer Cape Health Services

- Tina Rauch, RN, Registered Nurse, Family Medicine, Outer Cape Health Services

- Jennifer Eldredge, Medical Assistant, Family Medicine, Outer Cape Health Services

Session Description

Outer Cape Health Services (OCHS) is an independent, federally-qualified health center with three locations in the outermost towns of Cape Cod, an area hit hard by the opiate epidemic of recent years. After years of updates to the OCHS Controlled Substance Policy and Procedure, Medical Director Dr. Barbara Prazak worked with the Director of Nursing to develop the Chronic Pain Case Management (CPCM) Program, to be implemented March 1, 2016. The CPCM program uses a team-based case management approach to monitoring patients on opioid prescriptions, with systematic tracking of patient data such as PEG scales, MEQ dosing, concurrent use of benzodiazepines, annual agreements, UDS and PMP checks and visit compliance, and regular provider-to-provider case reviews. While the CPCM program supports the primary care prescriber with consistent, data-based risk management and evaluation, it also aims to shift provider behavior and practices in opiate prescribing, towards an approach that is more collaborative, individualized to patients’ needs, and integrated with primary care. Through this breakout session, we will engage with other prescriber teams to learn about other team-based approaches to chronic pain case management, discuss best practices, and begin formulating issues that warrant research.

Protein Arginine Methylation and Citrullination in Epigenetic Regulation

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:57pm

The post-translational modification of arginine residues represents a key mechanism for the epigenetic control of gene expression. Aberrant levels of histone arginine modifications have been linked to the development of several diseases including cancer. In recent years, great progress has been made in understanding the physiological role of individual arginine modifications and their effects on chromatin function. The present review aims to summarize the structural and functional aspects of histone arginine modifying enzymes and their impact on gene transcription. We will discuss the potential for targeting these proteins with small molecules in a variety of disease states.

Peptidylarginine Deiminase 3 (PAD3) Is Upregulated by Prolactin Stimulation of CID-9 Cells and Expressed in the Lactating Mouse Mammary Gland

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:56pm

Peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs) post-translationally convert arginine into neutral citrulline residues. Our past work shows that PADs are expressed in the canine and murine mammary glands; however, the mechanisms regulating PAD expression and the function of citrullination in the normal mammary gland are unclear. Therefore, the first objective herein was to investigate regulation of PAD expression in mammary epithelial cells. We first examined PAD levels in CID-9 cells, which were derived from the mammary gland of mid-pregnant mice. PAD3 expression is significantly higher than all other PAD isoforms and mediates protein citrullination in CID-9 cells. We next hypothesized that prolactin regulates PAD3 expression. To test this, CID-9 cells were stimulated with 5 mug/mL of prolactin for 48 hours which significantly increases PAD3 mRNA and protein expression. Use of a JAK2 inhibitor and a dominant negative (DN)-STAT5 adenovirus indicate that prolactin stimulation of PAD3 expression is mediated by the JAK2/STAT5 signaling pathway in CID-9 cells. In addition, the human PAD3 gene promoter is prolactin responsive in CID-9 cells. Our second objective was to investigate the expression and activity of PAD3 in the lactating mouse mammary gland. PAD3 expression in the mammary gland is highest on lactation day 9 and coincident with citrullinated proteins such as histones. Use of the PAD3 specific inhibitor, Cl4-amidine, indicates that PAD3, in part, can citrullinate proteins in L9 mammary glands. Collectively, our results show that upregulation of PAD3 is mediated by prolactin induction of the JAK2/STAT5 signaling pathway, and that PAD3 appears to citrullinate proteins during lactation.

Detection and identification of protein citrullination in complex biological systems

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:56pm

Protein citrullination is a post-translational modification of arginine that is catalyzed by the Protein Arginine Deiminase (PAD) family of enzymes. Aberrantly increased citrullination is associated with a host of inflammatory diseases and cancer and PAD inhibitors have shown remarkable efficacy in a range of diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, atherosclerosis, and ulcerative colitis. In rheumatoid arthritis, citrullinated proteins serve as key antigens for rheumatoid arthritis-associated autoantibodies. These data suggest that citrullinated proteins may serve more generally as biomarkers of specific disease states, however, the identification of citrullinated residues remains challenging due to the small 1Da mass change that occurs upon citrullination. Herein, we highlight the available techniques to identify citrullinated proteins/residues focusing on advanced MS techniques as well as chemical derivatization strategies that are currently being employed to identify citrullinated proteins as well as the specific residues modified within those proteins.

Structural and functional diversity of Topologically Associating Domains

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:47pm

Recent studies have shown that chromosomes in a range of organisms are compartmentalized in different types of chromatin domains. In mammals, chromosomes form compartments that are composed of smaller Topologically Associating Domains (TADs). TADs are thought to represent functional domains of gene regulation but much is still unknown about the mechanisms of their formation and how they exert their regulatory effect on embedded genes. Further, similar domains have been detected in other organisms, including flies, worms, fungi and bacteria. Although in all these cases these domains appear similar as detected by 3C-based methods, their biology appears to be quite distinct with differences in the protein complexes involved in their formation and differences in their internal organization. Here we outline our current understanding of such domains in different organisms and their roles in gene regulation.

Understanding Metabolic Regulation at a Systems Level: Metabolite Sensing, Mathematical Predictions, and Model Organisms

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:47pm

Metabolic networks are extensively regulated to facilitate tissue-specific metabolic programs and robustly maintain homeostasis in response to dietary changes. Homeostatic metabolic regulation is achieved through metabolite sensing coupled to feedback regulation of metabolic enzyme activity or expression. With a wealth of transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic data available for different cell types across various conditions, we are challenged with understanding global metabolic network regulation and the resulting metabolic outputs. Stoichiometric metabolic network modeling integrated with "omics" data has addressed this challenge by generating nonintuitive, testable hypotheses about metabolic flux rewiring. Model organism studies have also yielded novel insight into metabolic networks. This review covers three topics: the feedback loops inherent in metabolic regulatory networks, metabolic network modeling, and interspecies studies utilizing Caenorhabditis elegans and various bacterial diets that have revealed novel metabolic paradigms.

Invariant TAD Boundaries Constrain Cell-Type-Specific Looping Interactions between Promoters and Distal Elements around the CFTR Locus

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:47pm

Three-dimensional genome structure plays an important role in gene regulation. Globally, chromosomes are organized into active and inactive compartments while, at the gene level, looping interactions connect promoters to regulatory elements. Topologically associating domains (TADs), typically several hundred kilobases in size, form an intermediate level of organization. Major questions include how TADs are formed and how they are related to looping interactions between genes and regulatory elements. Here we performed a focused 5C analysis of a 2.8 Mb chromosome 7 region surrounding CFTR in a panel of cell types. We find that the same TAD boundaries are present in all cell types, indicating that TADs represent a universal chromosome architecture. Furthermore, we find that these TAD boundaries are present irrespective of the expression and looping of genes located between them. In contrast, looping interactions between promoters and regulatory elements are cell-type specific and occur mostly within TADs. This is exemplified by the CFTR promoter that in different cell types interacts with distinct sets of distal cell-type-specific regulatory elements that are all located within the same TAD. Finally, we find that long-range associations between loci located in different TADs are also detected, but these display much lower interaction frequencies than looping interactions within TADs. Interestingly, interactions between TADs are also highly cell-type-specific and often involve loci clustered around TAD boundaries. These data point to key roles of invariant TAD boundaries in constraining as well as mediating cell-type-specific long-range interactions and gene regulation.

Extremely Long-Range Chromatin Loops Link Topological Domains to Facilitate a Diverse Antibody Repertoire

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:47pm

Early B cell development is characterized by large-scale Igh locus contraction prior to V(D)J recombination to facilitate a highly diverse Ig repertoire. However, an understanding of the molecular architecture that mediates locus contraction remains unclear. We have combined high-resolution chromosome conformation capture (3C) techniques with 3D DNA FISH to identify three conserved topological subdomains. Each of these topological folds encompasses a major VH gene family that become juxtaposed in pro-B cells via megabase-scale chromatin looping. The transcription factor Pax5 organizes the subdomain that spans the VHJ558 gene family. In its absence, the J558 VH genes fail to associate with the proximal VH genes, thereby providing a plausible explanation for reduced VHJ558 gene rearrangements in Pax5-deficient pro-B cells. We propose that Igh locus contraction is the cumulative effect of several independently controlled chromatin subdomains that provide the structural infrastructure to coordinate optimal antigen receptor assembly.

Activation of proto-oncogenes by disruption of chromosome neighborhoods

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:46pm

Oncogenes are activated through well-known chromosomal alterations, including gene fusion, translocation and focal amplification. Recent evidence that the control of key genes depends on chromosome structures called insulated neighborhoods led us to investigate whether proto-oncogenes occur within these structures and if oncogene activation can occur via disruption of insulated neighborhood boundaries in cancer cells. We mapped insulated neighborhoods in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), and found that tumor cell genomes contain recurrent microdeletions that eliminate the boundary sites of insulated neighborhoods containing prominent T-ALL proto-oncogenes. Perturbation of such boundaries in non-malignant cells was sufficient to activate proto-oncogenes. Mutations affecting chromosome neighborhood boundaries were found in many types of cancer. Thus, oncogene activation can occur via genetic alterations that disrupt insulated neighborhoods in malignant cells.

Using synthetic biology to make cells tomorrow's test tubes

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:46pm

The main tenet of physical biology is that biological phenomena can be subject to the same quantitative and predictive understanding that physics has afforded in the context of inanimate matter. However, the inherent complexity of many of these biological processes often leads to the derivation of complex theoretical descriptions containing a plethora of unknown parameters. Such complex descriptions pose a conceptual challenge to the establishment of a solid basis for predictive biology. In this article, we present various exciting examples of how synthetic biology can be used to simplify biological systems and distill these phenomena down to their essential features as a means to enable their theoretical description. Here, synthetic biology goes beyond previous efforts to engineer nature and becomes a tool to bend nature to understand it. We discuss various recent and classic experiments featuring applications of this synthetic approach to the elucidation of problems ranging from bacteriophage infection, to transcriptional regulation in bacteria and in developing embryos, to evolution. In all of these examples, synthetic biology provides the opportunity to turn cells into the equivalent of a test tube, where biological phenomena can be reconstituted and our theoretical understanding put to test with the same ease that these same phenomena can be studied in the in vitro setting.

The 3D Genome as Moderator of Chromosomal Communication

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:46pm

Proper expression of genes requires communication with their regulatory elements that can be located elsewhere along the chromosome. The physics of chromatin fibers imposes a range of constraints on such communication. The molecular and biophysical mechanisms by which chromosomal communication is established, or prevented, have become a topic of intense study, and important roles for the spatial organization of chromosomes are being discovered. Here we present a view of the interphase 3D genome characterized by extensive physical compartmentalization and insulation on the one hand and facilitated long-range interactions on the other. We propose the existence of topological machines dedicated to set up and to exploit a 3D genome organization to both promote and censor communication along and between chromosomes.

Community Research Innovative Scholars Program (CRISP) Panel Discussion

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:00pm

Moderators and Presenters: Lorraine S. Cordeiro, U Massachusetts Amherst, Christopher Denning, U Massachusetts Boston, Herpreet Thind, U Massachusetts Lowell, Rachel Kulick, U Massachusetts Dartmouth

Session Description: The inaugural Community Research Innovative Scholars will present their perspectives regarding key issues, opportunities and/or challenges regarding community-engaged research. The scholarship of engagement provides opportunities to promote the development of human capital, in the classroom, within communities, in academia, and within the profession. Scholars will discuss the knowledge generation, economic, social and educational impact of their work on their universities and communities. Innovative engagement practices, strategies to address health and educational disparities, and scholarship impacts will be discussed in this panel.

Improving Community Health through an Innovative Collaboration between Academics and Practitioners through the Worcester Academic Health Department

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:00pm

Session Description

The newly established Academic Health Collaborative at the Worcester Division of Public Health links local universities with the Division of Public Health in a collaborative partnership that bridges health/public health academia and practice to improve community health. It allows the DPH to leverage academic and community resources and expertise to help it achieve its goal to become the “Healthiest City in New England by 2020”.

This innovative collaboration allows the DPH and local partners to train a future generation of students that can work and communicate across disciplines and settings. In addition, it provides structured practicum and internship experience for area college and university students that serves not only the needs of public health but enhances the learning experience for the student. So far, these experiences have been tailored to address priorities identified by the WDPH to support the Division’s Strategic Plan and CHIP are addressed and implemented.

Addressing Gaps to Promote Co-learning and Bidirectional Capacity Building in Community Engaged Research: Challenges and Untapped Opportunities

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 2:00pm

Moderator: Stephenie Lemon, Ph.D., UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Session Titles and Presenters

-Learning From Each Other: Other Partnerships, Other Experiences - Linda Silka, Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, University of Maine

-What is Research Literacy? - Lauren R. Powell, PhD Candidate Clinical and Population Health Research, UMass Medical School

-Learning by Doing to Enhance a Community-University Partnership - TBN, The Puerto Rican Cultural Center - Phil Granberry, PhD, The Gaston Institute, UMass Boston

-Enhancing Cultural Competency in Research Teams: The Promise of Simulation-based Training - Marie Boone, Executive Vice President of Planning, Mosaic Cultural Complex

Session Description: Community engagement is increasingly recognized as an essential approach for the development of a body of health-related research that will ultimately improve population health status and promote health equity. However, this approach poses many challenges as well as untapped opportunities. Specific to this session, co-learning and bidirectional capacity building are widely promulgated core principles of community engaged research. The intent of the principles are for community and academic members to learn from each other in both formal and informal ways, leveraging respective strengths, in order to develop sustainable knowledge, skills and resources. In a community–university, partnerships, researchers and community residents must commit not only to sharing their skills and experiences, but also to learning from and valuing each other’s skills. This requires that both groups engage in a bidirectional learning process. Through this co-learning and capacity building, research partnerships and participation can be improved and ultimately the research itself can potentially have greater impact. The purpose of this session is to provide a series of brief presentations from academia and community organizations that will outline specific issues experienced in promoting co-learning and bidirectional capacity for academic teams, community partners and community members and to describe local efforts to enhance co-learning, bidirectional capacity and community engaged research overall.

Diagnostic Evaluation and Home Monitor Use in Late Preterm to Term Infants With Apnea, Bradycardia, and Desaturations

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 1:44pm

Apnea, bradycardia, and oxygen desaturation events are a common in neonatal intensive care units, with relevant literature to date largely focusing on very low birth weight and extremely low birth weight infants. We conducted a retrospective review of infants born at ≥34 weeks gestational age at 2 tertiary neonatal intensive care units in Boston, MA, between January 2009 and December 2013. Our objectives included (1) describing the diagnostic evaluations performed in late preterm to term infants with discharge-delaying apnea, bradycardia, or oxygen desaturation events and (2) identifying variables associated with home monitor use. Of the 741 eligible infants identified, diagnostic evaluations were variable and infrequent with blood culture, blood glucose, and head ultrasound performed most commonly. The likelihood of home monitor use was greater in infants with either a prolonged inpatient stay or greater gestational age at birth.

Translation Research: Where are our Communities?

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 12:30pm

This is the Symposium's Keynote presentation by Carolyn M. Jenkins, DrPH, MSN, RD, LD, FAAN, who is the Ann Darlington Edwards Endowed Chair in Nursing and a Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Dr. Jenkins reviews principles of CEnR (Community-engaged Research) with focus on CBPR (Community-based participatory research); describes community engagement in the context of research frameworks; explores methods for training academic and community members for CEnR; and reviews the Community Engaged Scholars Program and examples of CEnR and action.

A predictive model of cochlear implant performance in postlingually deafened adults

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 11:56am

OBJECTIVE: To develop a predictive model of cochlear implant (CI) performance in postlingually deafened adults that includes contemporary speech perception testing and the hearing history of both ears.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective clinical study. Multivariate predictors of speech perception after CI surgery included duration of any degree of hearing loss (HL), duration of severe-to-profound HL, age at implantation, and preoperative Hearing in Noise Test (HINT) sentences in quiet and HINT sentences in noise scores. Consonant-nucleus-consonant (CNC) scores served as the dependent variable. To develop the model, we performed a stepwise multiple regression analysis.

SETTING: Tertiary referral center.

PATIENTS: Adult patients with postlingual severe-to-profound HL who received a multichannel CI. Mean follow-up was 28 months. Fifty-five patients were included in the initial bivariate analysis.

INTERVENTION(S): Multichannel cochlear implantation.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES(S): Predicted and measured postoperative CNC scores.

RESULTS: The regression analysis resulted in a model that accounted for 60% of the variance in postoperative CNC scores. The formula is (pred)CNC score = 76.05 + (-0.08 x DurHL(CI ear)) + (0.38 x pre-HINT sentences in quiet) + (0.04 x long sev-prof HL(either ear)). Duration of HL was in months. The mean difference between predicted and measured postoperative CNC scores was 1.7 percentage points (SD, 16.3).

CONCLUSION: The University of Massachusetts CI formula uses HINT sentence scores and the hearing history of both ears to predict the variance in postoperative monosyllabic word scores. This model compares favorably with previous studies that relied on Central Institute for the Deaf sentence scores and uses patient data collected by most centers in the United States.

Lithogenesis and bile metabolism

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 11:45am

Gallstone disease exacts a considerable financial and social burden worldwide leading to frequent physician visits and hospitalizations. Based on their composition, gallstones are categorized as cholesterol, black pigment, and brown pigment, with each category having a unique structural, epidemiologic, and risk factor profile. Cholesterol crystal formation requires the presence of one or more of the following: (a) cholesterol supersaturation, (b) accelerated nucleation, or (c) gallbladder hypomotility/bile stasis. Some risk factors for cholesterol stones include age, gender, genetics, obesity, rapid weight loss, and ileal disease. Generally, pigment stones are formed by the precipitation of bilirubin in bile, with black stones associated with chronic hemolytic states, cirrhosis, Gilbert syndrome, or cystic fibrosis, and brown stones associated with chronic bacterial or parasitic infections.

Status and Potential of Community-Engaged Research to Investigate Physical Activity Interventions for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Chinese-American Communities

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 11:00am

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) engage in less physical activity (PA), and in one estimate (Curtin et al., 2010) were 1.3 times more likely to be obese than their typically developing (TD) peers. Barriers to PA in children with ASD exist at the individual, family/peer and community levels of the socio-ecological model. Research on multilevel adaptations to PA programs has been promising. With adapted coaching, adolescents with ASD have achieved fitness gains equal to those seen in TD children, and have performed high levels of moderate-intensity PA in community settings. Social skills development has also been noted. Community-engaged research is well suited to identifying barriers to PA and designing programs and lifestyle approaches to health. It may be particularly useful for research with children with ASD and their families from culturally diverse communities. Scant research has been conducted on PA in ASD, but it is almost non-existent among Chinese-American children/families, for whom familial and cultural perspectives on ASD, modes of exercise and health, and other factors may diverge from the typical American norm. This poster will: (1) review research on multi-level determinants of PA and exercise, and on programs for children with ASD in general; (2) review research on community-engaged approaches for addressing PA and related health challenges in ASD; (3) describe Chinese-American cultural variables that may influence participation in PA in families with children with ASD; and (4) propose ideas for new community-engaged research and sustainable partnerships that would address these challenges among Chinese-American children and families.