[26]: Special Needs Deserves Special Attention

Cameron Hafer, Amanda Belden, Soma Roy

Department of Statistics, Speaker

The SCLARC Project: Using a multilevel model to determine who is utilizing their funds The South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (SCLARC), is a non-profit agency that serves individuals with developmental disabilities in the LA area, providing supports and services across the lifespan. While the organization has been lauded for being the first Regional Center to close the funding disparity gap between White and Black and Hispanic clients, there was a concern that some clients who are found to be eligible for supports and services utilize little to none of their allocated funds. In order to better understand how to support the uptake of these supports and services, they first needed to understand better who these clients are. This presentation will describe our statistical analysis of de-identified data provided by SCLARC, to be able to better parse out the profiles of clients who would be at-risk for underutilization of supports and services. We will also share our findings and the results of our exploratory analysis. This was made possible by our team of statisticians, enabling the use of technology of our own specialty, and contributing with others at the SCLARC to turn our analysis into crafting solutions that resonate with the lives of those who need it most.

[27]: Synthetic Design of Polymeric Mixed Ion-Electron Conductors

Nika Bondar†★, Abigail Slimp, Patrick Gruoner, Aziz Bassil, Jason Lin, Shanju Zhang

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Frost Support, Speaker

The movement towards more efficient, biodegradable energy storage devices has yielded the invention of novel semi-conducting materials, amongst which are the conducting polymeric derivatives we employ in our research. Conjugated polymers complexed with an ionic liquid surfactant possess two types of charge carriers, and thus are awarded with the capacity for mixed ion-electron conductivity. The study of supramolecular interactions within the polymer-surfactant complex is therefore helpful in maximizing the charge carrier mobility. After complexation, the system assumes the behavior of a lyotropic liquid crystal, which grants the material the potential for anisotropic conductivity upon crystal alignment via mechanical shearing. In our project, we investigate the effects of complexation, liquid crystalline phase and shearing conditions on ionic and electronic conductivities of the material. Optimizing the conditions for unperturbed charge transport will provide our material with enhanced mixed conductivity, the applications of which will extend far beyond solid state batteries - enhancing biomedical devices, fuel cells, field transistors, supercapacitors and other technological instruments that strongly depend on the efficacy of dual conducting polymeric materials.

[28]: Stimuli Responsive Nanoparticle Crosslinked Hydrogel for Sequential Release of Therapeautics

paul Contos, Sandra Ward

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Speaker

Stimuli-responsive, drug delivery vehicles have been developed throughout the years as a method to improve administration of therapeutics by increasing specificity, increasing efficacy, and decreasing off target effects through the selective release of the payload at a target condition. Liposomes and hydrogels are commonly seen in the development of drug delivery vehicles. However, though both can be tuned to demonstrate stimuli responsive properties, liposomes are limited in their stability and hydrogels are limited in their versatility. A composite material composed of vesicles in a hydrogel matrix would address these limitations while also allowing for tunable material characteristics to better improve aspects such as release kinetics and injectability. This research presents a stimuli-responsive, vesicle crosslinked hydrogel capable of sequential release of therapeutics. The hydrogel matrix is composed of a 4-armed PEG crosslinker with a pH sensitive silyl-ether core that utilizes thiol-disulfide exchange to crosslink with vesicles. Upon release from the hydrogel under acidic conditions, these vesicles are then lysed at intracellular concentrations of the tripeptide, glutathione(GSH). This design should allow for a sequential, site specific release of multiple types of therapeutics while also allowing for a more sustained released. This work investigated an efficient one-pot synthesis strategy for the formation of amphiphilic compounds. In addition, preliminary rheology studies were conducted to investigate the mechanical properties of a model hydrogel crosslinked through thiol disulfide exchange.

[29]: Amphiphilic YNDs: A Stimuli-Responsive Surfactant System

Gisele Guerrero†★, Daniel Bercovici

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Frost Support, Speaker

Ylidenenorbornadiene dicarboxylates (YNDs) have previously displayed spontaneous fragmentation via a retro-[4+2] cycloaddition after conjugate addition of an appropriate nucleophile. This study investigates the use of amphiphilic YNDs as potential stimuli-responsive small molecule surfactants. Amphiphilic YNDs display the ability to self-assemble into micelles, which can be utilized to transport a molecular payload. Upon nucleophilic addition, it is hypothesized that the amphiphiles will follow previously reported fragmentation. Several YND-small molecule surfactants (YSMS) systems were synthesized where the hydrophilic and hydrophobic sites were altered. By utilizing an organic dye (Nile Red) to simulate micellar cargo, the critical micelle concentration (CMC) for these systems was determined via fluorimetry and dynamic light-scattering (DLS). YSMS systems were subjected to a thiol nucleophile and heated to study the fragmentation and payload release via fluorimetry to investigate the potential for the YSMS systems to act as a drug delivery system triggered by thiol nucleophiles.

[30]: Characterizing PaeR, a Metal-Responsive MarR homolog from Clostridioides difficile

Katelyn Yunker, Steven Wilkinson

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Speaker

Members of the MarR (Multiple antibiotic resistance regulator) family of proteins function as transcriptional regulators of a variety of processes in bacteria and archaea, most commonly catabolic pathways, stress response mechanisms, and efflux or degradation of toxins and antibiotics. In this report we describe the DNA- and ligand-binding interactions of a PaeR, which is the first biochemically characterized MarR protein from the pathogenic bacterium, Clostridioides difficile. We show that PaeR binds with low nM affinity and high sequence specificity at two sites within the promoter/operator region of the paeR gene. PaeR binds at these two closely spaced sites with positive cooperativity, indicating that binding at one site enhances the protein's affinity for the other site. Additionally, the team conducted metal screenings and observed the impact of copper(II) and other divalent metal ions on PaeR's interaction with DNA, suggesting that PaeR functions in vivo as a metal-responsive transcriptional regulator. This investigation into PaeR enhances our understanding of the protein's DNA- and ligand-binding properties, potentially leading to drug discovery targeting the antibiotic resistant C. difficile.

[31]: pH Sensing with COF Pigments in Water-Based Latex Coatings

Sachi Ottoes, Leslie Hamachi

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Speaker

Color-changing coatings with real-time responsivity to environmental conditions have many potential applications. These coatings incorporate crystalline, porous pigments known as COFs, capable of transitioning from red to yellow in response to changes in pH levels. However, incorporating COFs into a coating has been challenging due to issues with their processability when synthesized in bulk powders. To address this, colloidal COFs were synthesized using specific catalysts, enabling stable suspensions in water. These water-stable colloids were then integrated into water-based latex coating formulations. Evaluation through L*a*b* color measurements demonstrated the reversible pH-sensitive color change capability of these coatings.