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Student Projects

Current Student Projects

AnthonyArce

Anthony Arce, BS, MPHc
Master's of Public Health
Project Advisor: Archana McEligot, PhD
Project Title: Gender disparities and UV exposure are associated with melanoma outcomes


Melanoma is a heterogeneous disease with multifaceted etiology, identification, and management. A previous publication indicated that during 1984-2008, US females had higher incidence rates compared with males up until age 45 with a peak difference at ages 20-24; current incidence rates from 2008-2010 show similar trends. In the Nordic region, bimodal melanoma incidence rates were also found between the genders, but not for that of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC).  Age and pigmentation characteristics related to UV radiation exposure may contribute to melanoma gender discrepancies among various ethnic groups; however, these risk factors alone are not sufficient to account for the findings above. Thus, additional causative factors may be at play. The purpose of the study is to further examine melanoma incidence rates from various countries, comparing both age- and gender-specific melanoma incidence rates. Additionally, we investigate the association between average UV index (UVI) from various countries with the male and female incidence rates.

 

Ashley washington

Ualani Ho`opai, BS, MPHc
Master's of Public Health
Project Advisor: Archana McEligot, PhD
Project Title: Kaleponi (California) Pili `Ohana – A partnership for improving lifestyle intervention in Pacific Islanders


The Journal of American Medicine states obesity to be a common, serious, and costly problem affecting 78.6 million US adults. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) population to have the highest BMI (Body Mass Index) at 75.2% when compared to 41% of Asians, 59.8% of Whites, 70.1% of Blacks, and 71.2% of Hispanics. According to the US Census, NHPIs are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups between 2000 and 2010. California has the largest populace of Samoans, Tongans, and Chamorros (Guamanians) outside of their respective native countries. Kaleponi Pili `Ohana (KPO) is a collaborative effort between Pacific Islander Health Partnership, `Ᾱinahau O Kaleponi Hawaiian Civic Club, CSUF, and the Department of Native Hawaiian Health (DNHH), John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawai`i Mānoa. Few studies have examined the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity in the NHPI population. Thus, the intent of KPO is to introduce, implement, and adapt an existing culturally-tailored weight loss, maintenance, and healthy lifestyle program from the DNHH, here on the continental US to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.

 

Ashley washington

Ashley Washington, BSc
Health Science
Project Advisor: Archana McEligot, PhD
Project Title: Establishing gender differentiated cell lines and early onset melanoma


Malignant cutaneous melanoma (CM) is one of the few cancers where incidence rates continue to increase over the last decade in the United States. Recent findings strongly suggest that early onset CM is unlike Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) and is not linked to UV radiation; but importantly gender-related factors play a crucial role in CM incidence. Current melanocyte culture sources are all from new born circumcision foreskin, therefore are all male melanocytes. The technology of isolating and growing melanocytes from adult tissue in culture is not mature. We are currently attempting to isolate and grow stem cells from human eyebrow hair follicles. After mastering the growth and isolation from these hair follicles to see if they are in fact stem cells, the cells can be finally turned into female melanocytes and open up the ability to study them further.

 

MelissaDiaz

Melissa Diaz, BSc
Health Science
Project Advisor: Archana McEligot, PhD
Project Title: Malignant cutaneous melanoma, culture sources and gender disparities

 

Our study consists of perfecting a procedure to isolate and grow stem cells. We initially started by placing head hair in neural crest stem cell (NCSC) media. However, we did not see much significance so we decided to observe differences in growth between hair follicles from other parts of the body, such as leg, arm, and eyebrows. After performing several trails, we noticed that eyebrow hair growth was more visible and decided to compare it with head hair. For our control plates, we placed both head and eyebrow hair in melanocyte media. As for the experimental group, we placed both hairs in NCSC media that was mixed with fibronectin that had dried, fibronectin not dried, and a column without fibronectin. We observed several bulges, possible indication of stem cells, appearing around the eyebrow hair cultured in coated fibronectin wells with NCSC media. We decided to continue treating these cells to be able to identify and isolate them. In addition, we are conducting another study involving surgically removed human skin from cosmetic procedures to isolate melanocytes and observe the differences in signal transduction pathways in both genders.

 

More Student Projects coming soon!

 

Previous Student Projects

AlisaSpieckerman

Alisa Spieckerman, BA, MPH
Master's of Public Health
Project Advisor: Archana McEligot, PhD
Project Title: The development and pilot test of a farmer's market to improve access to sustainable foods on a college campus


Organic  and  local  foods  are  increasingly  being  sought after,  especially  in  the  younger,  health conscious   generation.  This  project  provides  an  avenue  to  create  awareness  and  access  to these  foods  and  also  promote  healthy  eating  behaviors  on  campus. Incorporating healthy options for students on campus is a great opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to be exposed to healthy food items such as fruits and vegetables as well as promoting local and organic sustainability. With the increase of chronic diseases and obesity it is very important for students to have healthy eating behaviors and options on our college campus.

 

DanicaPeterson

Danica Peterson, BS, MPH
Master's of Public Health
Project Advisor: Archana McEligot, PhD
Project Title:  The association between childhood family meals, fruit and vegetable consumption, and obesity in a multi-ethnic college population


The objective of the study was to examine the associations between family meal patterns in childhood, fruit and vegetable consumption, and obesity in a multiethnic college population.  The goal was to determine whether or not the family plays a significant role in the shaping of future eating patterns and weight of college students in a multi-ethnic population. The study was done at California State University, Fullerton, which serves a diverse student population (approximately 32% non-Hispanic White, 30% Hispanic, 21% Asians, 4% African-American and 13% unknown/other) and included a sample of 206 students at least 18 years of age (n=206).  Data on family meals were collected via a questionnaire that was adapted from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey, and current dietary behaviors were measured by the Multifactor Screener used in the 2000 NHIS Cancer Control Supplement (CCS).  Simple linear regressions showed that parent relationship status (“Married” vs. “Not Married”) was significantly and negatively associated with the frequency of home-cooked meals with at least one family member in high school (B= -.143, p=.042); and was significantly and positively associated with frequency of fast-food consumption with family (B=.192, p=.006), without family (B=.16, p=.024) and total (B=.233, p=.001) per week in middle school and in the same three categories in high school (B=.151, p=.031), (B=.192, p=.006), and (B=.221, p=.002). Simple linear regressions also showed that frequency of fast-food consumption with the family in middle school was significantly and positively associated with BMI (B= .17, p=.016);  Multiple linear regressions showed that all of these associations remained significant after controlling for age, gender, and ethnicity. Results suggest the role of the family in shaping eating behaviors, which has implications for interventions aimed at improving nutrition in order to reduce obesity.  Future research should address cultural issues and SES and include samples with greater representation of African Americans.

 

Denise Starkey

Denise Starkey, BS, MPH
Master's of Public Health
Project Advisor: Sora Tanjasiri, Dr.PH, MPH
Project Title:  Reform for access: An informative training module focused on the changes of the United States Health Reform, the Affordable Care Act.

 

 

 

 

 

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