MC

Mississippi College

Angela Whittom Reiken

Attention:  Students interested in off-campus research
As the coordinator for off-campus research through the Department of Biology, I will be happy to assist you in gaining credit for your future research experience! If you are a current MC Biology student interested in off-campus research, the syllabus and forms required for spring 2015 are now posted in the documents section.  Here, you may read the instructions for registering and the requirements. Please look over this information first, then you may email me with any questions you may have! 

     




Welcome to Dr. Reiken's Faculty Homepage!


My Spring 2015 Courses

BIO 403Vertebrate Histology Lab0.000Undergraduate

BIO 403Vertebrate Histology Lab0.000Undergraduate

BIO 403Vertebrate Histology5.000Undergraduate

BIO 5403Vertebrate Histology Lab0.000Graduate

BIO 5403Vertebrate Histology Lab0.000Graduate

BIO 307Cell Biology and Genetics Lab2.000Undergraduate

BIO 5403Vertebrate Histology5.000Graduate

BIO 6564Thesis II3.000Graduate

BIO 451ISR:BIO RES I1.000Undergraduate

BIO 452ISR: BIO RES II2.000Undergraduate

BIO 453ISR: BIO RES III3.000Undergraduate

BIO 454ISR: BIO RES IV3.000Undergraduate

BIO 6460ISR: BIO RES I1.000Graduate

BIO 6461ISR: BIO RES II2.000Graduate

BIO 6462ISR: BIO RES III3.000Graduate

BIO 6462ISR: BIO RES3.000Graduate

BIO 451ISR:Tech in Neuro & Cancer Bio  3.000   Undergraduate

BIO 6461ISR:Tech in Neuro Cancer Bio3.000Graduate

 

Current Research Synopsis

Effects of Pseudognathalium obtusifolium Extracts on Eukaryotic Cells:  Studying the regional plant, Pseudognaphalium obtusifolum, an annual herb that is a member of the Asteraceae family, may lead to the discovery of possible medical uses. Historically, this Eastern North American plant has uses in traditional medicine among many Native American groups and early settlers of this region, yet little scientific research has delved into its actual medicinal value.  Our research aims to investigate the effects of P. obtusifolium extracts on eukaryotic cells and determine if the extracts have antibacterial, antioxidant, or anticancer properties. Extracts were initially obtained from collected plants by treating each plant with different solvents – ethanol, hexane, and dichloromethane. Plants were treated with liquid nitrogen and homogenized and the extracts were suspended in DMSO. Cultures grown with extract dilutions causing a significant increase or decrease in proliferation are tested for toxicity, cell viability, changes in mitochondrial morphology and distribution, and production of reactive oxygen species. The overall purpose of continuing this line of investigation is to determine the characteristics of these extracts and to look at the long-term implications of whether organic compounds from P. obtusifolium are capable of being used in lieu of synthetic compounds to promote overall health and treat various forms of disease. These studies will hopefully lay the groundwork for more intensive studies of the reported therapeutic values of P. obtusifolium.

  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae studies:  Initially, serial dilutions of plant extracts were administered to S. cerevisiae (budding yeast) HA2 strain in both liquid and agar plate cultures. S. cerevisiae is considered a model cell line and is being utilized to investigate the general effects of extracts on eukaryotic cells. In both quantitative and qualitative assessments, yeast cultured with a particular dilution of hexane extract were shown to have an increase in proliferation.  Further investigations are assessing the effects of hexane, ethanol, dichloromethane, and whole leaf plant extracts on HA2 and other S. cerevisiae strains.  
  • Anticancer studies:  We are investigating the effects of extracts derived from P. obtusifolium upon 3T3-L1 fibroblast cells and MCF7 breast ductal epithelial cells to determine whether the effects of derived organic compounds from this indigenous plant are successful in affecting cancer cell proliferation. MCF7 breast ductal epithelial cells and 3T3-L1 fibroblast cells have been chosen because of the implications of their endocrine function and to act as a model of exhibiting the modes in which the plant-based extracts affect cell proliferation. 
  • Neuronal differentiation studies:  Effects of extracts derived from P. obtusifolium upon NT2 human teratocarcinoma cells in order to determine if these extracts have any effects on neuronal cell differentiation.  The human teratoma-derived NTera2/D1 (NT2) cell line is a useful means for studying human neurological disease mechanisms in vitro as an alternative to stem cells.  As these cells can be induced to differentiate into neuronal and glial cells, treatment with plant extracts during and post- differentiation may indicate specific effects on cell morphology and expression.

Cystic Fibrosis:  We utilize the Calu-3 cell line (American Type Culture Collection, ATCC HTB-55) as a respiratory model for studying the effects of natural plant enzymes, collectively referred to as bromelain, on human airway epithelial cells. These cells are derived from human lung bronchial submucosal glands that have the most impact on airway surface liquid relative to other pulmonary cell types.  Calu-3 monolayers cultured on permeable supports polarize at an ALI (air-liquid interface), produce mucins, and secrete substances that are immunologically active into the apical compartment in a manner characteristic of bronchiolar epithelium.  When exposed to therapeutics, including pharmacological agents, integrity and permeability of the monolayer, cell viability, and histology can be used to measure response. These studies may be beneficial in understanding the physiology of mucin secreting glands and their roles in a variety of respiratory disorders.  Our focus is how bromelain may be utilized to provide symptomatic relief to those suffering from abnormal secretion of mucins, including that found in cystic fibrosis (CF).  A CF genetic mutation leads to damage in many areas of the body, including the lungs, due to abnormal transport of chloride and sodium ions across the epithelium.  The up-regulation of mucin-expressing genes found in lung cells in CF results in mucin secretions of increased viscosity.  Over time, the lungs become permanently damaged. We are currently working to determine the effects of bromelain on Calu-3 cells and secreted mucins through the study of bromelain toxicity, immunofluorescence microsopy, cell viability and metabolism assays, measuring uptake of bromelain, changes in mucin secretion or production, breakdown of secreted mucins, and Calu-3 production of reactive oxygen species.  Since epithelium of the airway is involved in the pathogenesis of many disorders, understanding the role of the airway epithelium, how mucin secretion is regulated and may be reduced, and the Calu-3 response to bromelain may facilitate the development of a novel therapy for certain respiratory disorders.

Mitochondrial Haplotyping:  Mitochondria are organelles found in the eukaryotic cytoplasm.  Each contains several copies of its own genome (mtDNA) that is distinct from nuclear DNA.  Since mitochondria contained in the zygote are those that were contained within the egg prior to fertilization, mtDNA can be used to trace maternal lineages.  mtDNA collects mutations at ten times the rate of nuclear DNA producing unique mtDNA SNPs (genomic variations of a single nucleotide) that are identified using restriction enzymes to obtain restriction fragments. When separated by agarose gel electrophoresis, different patterns called haplotypes are produced and used to define specific populations known as haplogroups. In our studies, we have explored the HV haplotype to identify individuals belonging to the HV haplogroup that is believed to have stemmed from the Middle East/Western Europe region 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. The HV haplotype is defined by a sequence change at the diagnostic SNP (rCRS C14766C) from CTAA to TTAA.  Presence of the TTAA sequence (recognized by the MseI restriction enzyme) indicates a positive HV haplotype. The CTAA sequence indicates a negative HV haplotype.  mtDNA obtained by cheek swab and primers were used to amplify this SNP region by PCR followed by digestion with MseI and electrophoresis. The positive HV haplotype has been identified and we are continuing to test additional mtDNA samples and explore additional haplotypes.  We are aiming to build a database of mtDNA samples that have been tested for the HV and other haplotypes to contribute to major haplotype collection databases.  Since understanding how mtDNA variations are distributed is also important in mtDNA-associated disease studies, results of our research can help track transmission of certain genetic disorders and diseases throughout human populations giving a better understanding of how people are susceptible to certain disorders, and lead to better prevention and/or gene therapy techniques.

 

Publications and Presentations

Scientific Research and Review Paper Publications

Whittom, A., Villarreal, A., Soni, M., Owusu-Duku, B., Meshram, A., Rajkowska, G., Stockmeier, C., Miguel-Hidalgo, J. (2014) Markers of apoptosis induction and proliferation in the orbitofrontal cortex in alcohol dependence. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. (in press, manuscript ID ACER-14-1483).

Rana, S., Verdin, L., Verdin, L., Giuffria, B., Beasley, J., Bridges, L., Cooper, A., Dhawan, G., Dolia, R., Downing, J. M., Ferger, Z., Hasan, S., Lawson, W., Nguyen, Y., Sipin, A., Shnaydruk, A., Waquad, A., Wilbert, G., Williams, Z., Windham, J., Rosado, D. J., and Whittom Reiken, A. 2014). Use of Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium in Native American Traditional Medicine and its Possible Health Benefits. NAAAS & Affiliates Monograph Series 2014 (in press).  
 
Miguel-Hidalgo, J.J., Whittom, A., Villarreal, A., Soni, M., Meshram, A., Pickett, J.C., Rajkowska, G., and Stockmeier, C.A. (2014) Apoptosis-related proteins and proliferation markers in the orbitofrontal cortex in major depressive disorder.  J. Affect. Disord. 2014 Apr; 158:62-70.

Miguel-Hidalgo, J. J., Whittom, A., Soni, M., Stockmeier, C. A. (2010) Caspase 8 in the orbitofrontal cortex in major depression, alcoholism and comorbid depression and alcoholism. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 34(S2): 151A.

Miguel-Hidalgo, J.J., Waltzer, R., Whittom, A. A., Austin, M. C., Rajkowska, G.,  Stockmeier, C. A. (2010).  Glial and glutamatergic markers in depression, alcoholism, and their comorbidity.  J. Affective Disord. 127(1-3): 230-40.

Bidwell, III, L., Whittom, A. A., Thomas, E., Lyons, D., Hebert, M. D., and Raucher, D. (2010).  A thermally targeted peptide inhibitor of symmetrical dimethylation inhibits cancer-cell proliferation. Peptides. 31(5): 834-841.

Hearst, S. M., Gilder, A. S., Negi, S. S., Davis, M. D., George, E. M., Whittom, A. A., Toyota, C. G., Husedzinovic, A., Gruss, O. J., and Hebert, M. D. (2009). Cajal-body formation correlates with differential coilin phosphorylation in primary and transformed cell lines. J. Cell Sci. 122 (11): 1872-1881.

Whittom, Angela A. (©2008). Differential Effects of Nuclear Organization on Artificial Reporter Splicing.  ISBN 0549653287, 9780549653288.

Whittom, A. A., Xu, H., and Hebert, M. D. (2008). Coilin levels and modifications influence artificial reporter splicing. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 65 (7-8): 1256-1271.

Hebert, M. D. and Whittom, A. A. (2007). Gene-based approaches toward Friedreich ataxia therapeutics. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 64 (23): 3034-3043.

Selected Abstracts and Presentations

Rana, S., and Reiken, A. W. (2014). Usage of Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium in Native American Culture And its Possible Health Benefits. Abstract and oral presentation for NAAAS and Affiliates International Research Forum, Mississippi College and Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, April 27-May 1, 2014. 

Downing, J. M., Lawson, W. J., Williams, Z. C., Baig, S. B., Haong, W., Waquad, A. S., Dolia, R. N., Shnaydruk, A., Goski, V., and Whittom Reiken, A. A. (2014) Effects of bromelain on mucins of the ATCC HTB-55 cell line: possibilities for a novel therapeautic. Abstract and poster presentation for Mississippi College and Tougaloo College 9th Annual research Symposium, Tougaloo College, Jackson, MS, Spring 2014.

Verdin, L., Cooper, A., Dolia, R., Downing, J. M., Rosado, D., Sipin, A., Verdin, L., Waquad, A., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2013).  Possible ROS inhibition or antioxidant production of Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium hexane extract.  Mol. Biol. Cell24:24 655 (suppl) Abstract No. 1564.

Verdin, L., Cooper, A., Dolia, R., Downing, J. M., Rosado, D., Sipin, A., Verdin, L., Waquad, A., Williams, Z., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2013).  P. obtusifolium hexane extract promotes cell proliferation of HBO yeast strain and demonstrates possible antioxidant effects.  Mol. Biol. Cell24:24 649-650 (suppl) Abstract No. 1554.

Dramis, N., Cannon, P., Sullivan, S., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2012). Identifying the mtDNA HV Haplotype.  Mississippi College Department of Biological Sciences (Extended abstract and short abstract) Mississippi College and Tougaloo College 9th Annual research Symposium, Tougaloo College, Jackson, MS.

Giuffria, B., Bridges, L., Ferger, Z., Windham, J., Rosado, D. J. and Whittom Reiken, A. (2012). The Effects of Pseudognathalium obtusifolum Extracts on Eukaryotic and Bacterial Cell Proliferation. Mississippi College Department of Biological Sciences (Extended abstract and short abstract) Mississippi College and Tougaloo College 9th Annual research Symposium, Tougaloo College, Jackson, MS.

Whittom, A. A., Miguel-Hidalgo, J. J., and Soni, M. Caspase 8 in the orbitofrontal cortex in major depression, alcoholism and comorbid depression and alcoholism. 33rd Research Society on Alcoholism Annual Scientific Conference, June 26-30, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas.

Whittom, A. A. and Hebert, M. D. Aromatic amidines increase transcription through GAA repeats found in Friedreich ataxia. Abstract, oral and poster presentation, University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences Research Day, 2007.

Whittom, A. A. and Hebert, M. D. Differential effects of nuclear organization on artificial reporter splicing.  Abstract, oral and poster presentation, University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences Research Day, 2007.

Reiken, A. A., Wolfe, C. L., and Norcum, M. T. (2004). Incorporation and intracellular mapping of his-tagged p43/EMAP II within the multienzyme aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase complex. Abstract and oral presentation for Mississippi Academy of Sciences 68th Annual Meeting, J. Miss. Acad. Sci. 49 (1): 24.

 

 

About Me

B.S. Biology/Chemistry
The University of West Alabama

M.C.S Biology/Chemistry
Mississippi College

Ph.D. Biochemistry
The University of Mississippi Medical Center

Postdoctoral Studies
Department of Biochemistry
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
The University of Mississippi Medical Center


Syllabi

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Letter of Rec Forms Documents

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