An examination of the mediating role of learning space design on the relation between instructor effectiveness and student engagement

Ball State University re-designed five classrooms—as part of an Interactive Learning Space (ILS) Initiative—to provide educators with learning spaces that could be used to implement and assess the effectiveness of student-centred instructional practices. The purpose of the current investigation was to explore how pedagogy implemented within ILSs influenced student outcomes. Participants responded to questionnaires assessing perceived instructor effectiveness, perceived influence of ILS design on educational practices, academic engagement, and initial impressions of the learning spaces. The relationship between instructor effectiveness and academic engagement was partially mediated by the influence that interactive learning spaces exerted on the types of activities implemented during course sessions. Additionally, we identified two ILSs that differentially influenced levels of academic engagement reported by learners. The characteristics of ILSs that facilitate the implementation of effective instructional practices and promote positive student outcomes are discussed.

Hexavalent chromium induces oxidative stress and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in isolated skin fibroblasts of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin

The increasing gas emissions and industrial wastewater discharge of anthropogenic hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) have been growing health concerns to the high trophic level marine mammals. Our previous studies showed that Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis), stranded on the Pearl River Estuary region, contained exceedingly high levels of Cr in their skin-tissues. Unfortunately, the molecular toxic mechanisms on this mammal are absent, limiting our understanding of the eco-physiological impacts of Cr(VI) on dolphins. Thus, the cytotoxicity effects of Cr(VI) were analyzed on fibroblasts we isolated from the skin of S. chinensis (ScSF). This study showed that Cr(VI) markedly inhibited the viability of ScSF cells via induction of apoptosis accompanied by an increase in the production of reactive oxygen species and the population of G2/M arrest or apoptotic sub-G1 phase cells, up-regulation of p53, and activation of caspase-3. Further investigation on intracellular mechanisms indicated that Cr(VI) induced depletion of mitochondrial membrane potential in cells through regulating the expression of anti-apoptotic (Bcl-2) and pro-apoptotic (Bax) proteins, resulting in decrease of the ATP level, cytochrome c release from mitochondria into cytosol, and the activation of caspase-9. Furthermore, antioxidants N-acetylcysteine and vitamin C displayed chemoprotective activity against Cr(VI) via suppression of p53 expression, indicating that the Cr(VI)-induced cell death may be mediated by oxidative stress. Overall, these results provide insights into the potential mechanisms underlying the cytotoxicity of Cr(VI) in Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin skin cells, offer experimental support for the proposed protective role of antioxidants in Cr(VI)-induced toxicity, and suggest that Cr(VI) contamination is one of key health concern issues for the protection of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin.

Perceived stress and worldview influence sleep quality in Bolivian and United States university students

This study investigated predictors of poor sleep quality among American and Bolivian students.

Exploring virtual reality as a platform for distance team-based learning

Online distance education has become popular in pharmacy education, but it can be challenging to provide engaging experiences such as team-based learning (TBL) in this format. This study explored the utility of virtual reality (VR) as a platform to provide the engaging elements of TBL, without students needing to be physically present in the same room.

Factors Influencing Organizational Commitment and Turnover in Nurse Residents

Newly licensed RNs (NLRNs) are at risk for leaving employment in the first year. Nurse residency programs have demonstrated success for NLRN retention, yet other variables remain to be explored.

Book Review Editor’s Welcome

It is with excitement and some anxiety that I write this welcome. The founding of Populism marks a time of increasing popular, policy, and academic interest in the topic of global populism—with Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to the office of the US presidency as salient examples being written about by journalists and academics. Accordingly, there are numerous books being written or recently published that need to be reviewed in these pages. It is the goal of this journal to serve as a focal point for researchers, activists, and policy experts who are working through the various aspects of global populism. While the topic is focused, the books reviewed here will originate from within and across many disciplines and methodologies. The nature of populism, especially seen through the lens of globalization, means that disciplinary and methodological nationalisms should be avoided in order to better understand it. Thus, the book review section will match the transdisciplinary emphasis of the journal by publishing single book reviews of between 900–1200 words as well as multi-book reviews of up to 2000 words. Further, exchanges between book authors and reviewers will occasionally be published.

Reversal of Nicotine Withdrawal Signs Through Positive Allosteric Modulation of α4β2 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Male Mice

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are important factors in determining the relapse rate to tobacco smoking and drugs that diminish these symptoms would potentially have a higher success rate as smoking cessation aids. Unlike US Food and Drug administration approved smoke cessation aids (nicotine and varenicline) which act as nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) agonists, desformylflustrabromine (dFBr) acts as a nAChR positive allosteric modulator with higher selectivity to the α4β2 nAChR. In animal studies, dFBr was well tolerated and reduced intravenous nicotine self-administration. In this study, we use behavioral test in mouse model of spontaneous nicotine withdrawal to assess the effect of dFBr on nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Nanostructure-enabled and macromolecule-grafted surfaces for biomedical applications

Advances in nanotechnology and nanomaterials have enabled the development of functional biomaterials with surface properties that reduce the rate of the device rejection in injectable and implantable biomaterials. In addition, the surface of biomaterials can be functionalized with macromolecules for stimuli-responsive purposes to improve the efficacy and effectiveness in drug release applications. Furthermore, macromolecule-grafted surfaces exhibit a hierarchical nanostructure that mimics nanotextured surfaces for the promotion of cellular responses in tissue engineering. Owing to these unique properties, this review focuses on the grafting of macromolecules on the surfaces of various biomaterials (e.g., films, fibers, hydrogels, and etc.) to create nanostructure-enabled and macromolecule-grafted surfaces for biomedical applications, such as thrombosis prevention and wound healing. The macromolecule-modified surfaces can be treated as a functional device that either passively inhibits adverse effects from injectable and implantable devices or actively delivers biological agents that are locally based on proper stimulation. In this review, several methods are discussed to enable the surface of biomaterials to be used for further grafting of macromolecules. In addition, we review surface-modified films (coatings) and fibers with respect to several biomedical applications. Our review provides a scientific update on the current achievements and future trends of nanostructure-enabled and macromolecule-grafted surfaces in biomedical applications.

Next-generation biocontainment systems for engineered organisms. Nature Chemical Biology

The increasing use of engineered organisms for industrial, clinical, and environmental applications poses a growing risk of spreading hazardous biological entities into the environment. To address this biosafety issue, significant effort has been invested in creating ways to confine these organisms and transgenic materials. Emerging technologies in synthetic biology involving genetic circuit engineering, genome editing, and gene expression regulation have led to the development of novel biocontainment systems. In this perspective, we highlight recent advances in biocontainment and suggest a number of approaches for future development, which may be applied to overcome remaining challenges in safeguard implementation.

Decision-making practices during the instrument selection process: The choices we make

The purpose of this article is to understand the decision-making processes by assessment personnel when choosing instruments to evaluate students with learning disabilities. Eight school personnel responsible for the evaluation of students in Texas participated in face-to-face, semistructured interviews. The instruments chosen were based on a variety of factors including the personnel’s basic knowledge and training on the use of the instruments, the culture and climate of the district, and the overall characteristics of the child being tested. The findings of this study suggested that assessment personnel encounter many decisions when evaluating children with learning disabilities. Implications from this study include the need for frequent support in encouraging reflective thinking and assessment training for those responsible for the important decisions regarding the identification and placement of students who are learning disabled.

Understanding the parent-child relationship during the transition into college and emerging adulthood using the Relational Turbulence Theory

Emerging adulthood presents individuals with increased levels of relational uncertainty, perceived interference, and feelings of conflict or turbulence, especially within the parent-child dyad as children enter emerging adulthood. This study argues the relationship turbulence theory provides a framework to examine parent-child dyads experiencing the transition into adulthood. One hundred and forty-three emerging adults reported on their relationship with a parent, as well as recent interactions with their parent. Structural equation modeling demonstrated the relational turbulence theory is generalizable to parent-child contexts. Further explanation of these results and possible implications of the study are discussed.

Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis for the Sliding Displacement of Rigid Sliding Masses

The seismic performance of a slope that has a shallow, critical sliding surface is quantified by the sliding displacement of a rigid sliding block. This project includes a Jupyter notebook that implements the Rathje and Saygili (2008, 2009) probabilistic approach to compute a hazard curve for the expected sliding displacement of a rigid sliding mass. This notebook requires as input the yield acceleration (ky) of the slope and the ground motion hazard in terms of the peak ground acceleration (PGA) hazard curve and the associated magnitude and distance de-aggregations. This Jupyter notebook interfaces directly with the U.S. Geological Survey Unified Hazard Tool such that the required ground motion hazard information can be input directly from the USGS website. The epistemic uncertainty in ky is captured through a user-specified logic tree. References: Rathje, E.M. and Saygili, G., (2009). Probabilistic assessment of earthquake-induced sliding displacements of natural slopes. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 42(1), p.18. Rathje, E. M., & Saygili, G. (2008). Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis for the sliding displacement of slopes: scalar and vector approaches. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 134(6), 804-814.

Electrospun Fibers as a Dressing Material for Drug and Biological Agent Delivery in Wound Healing Applications

Wound healing is a complex tissue regeneration process that promotes the growth of new tissue to provide the body with the necessary barrier from the outside environment. In the class of non-healing wounds, diabetic wounds, and ulcers, dressing materials that are available clinically (e.g., gels and creams) have demonstrated only a slow improvement with current available technologies. Among all available current technologies, electrospun fibers exhibit several characteristics that may provide novel replacement dressing materials for the above-mentioned wounds. Therefore, in this review, we focus on recent achievements in electrospun drug-eluting fibers for wound healing applications. In particular, we review drug release, including small molecule drugs, proteins and peptides, and gene vectors from electrospun fibers with respect to wound healing. Furthermore, we provide an overview on multifunctional dressing materials based on electrospun fibers, including those that are capable of achieving wound debridement and wound healing simultaneously as well as multi-drugs loading/types suitable for various stages of the healing process. Our review provides important and sufficient information to inform the field in development of fiber-based dressing materials for clinical treatment of non-healing wounds.

LY2087101 and dFBr share transmembrane binding sites in the (α4)3(β2)2 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor

Positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) have potential therapeutic application in neuropathologies associated with decrease in function or loss of nAChRs. In this study, we characterize the pharmacological interactions of the nAChRs PAM, LY2087101, with the α4β2 nAChR using mutational and computational analyses. LY2087101 potentiated ACh-induced currents of low-sensitivity (α4)3(β2)2 and high-sensitivity (α4)2(β2)3 nAChRs with similar potencies albeit to a different maximum potentiation (potentiation I max  = ~840 and 450%, respectively). Amino acid substitutions within the α4 subunit transmembrane domain [e.g. α4Leu256 and α4Leu260 within the transmembrane helix 1 (TM1); α4Phe316 within the TM3; and α4Gly613 within TM4] significantly reduced LY2087101 potentiation of (α4)3(β2)2 nAChR. The locations of these amino acid residues and LY2087101 computational docking analyses identify two LY2087101 binding sites: an intrasubunit binding site within the transmembrane helix bundle of α4 subunit at the level of α4Leu260/α4Phe316 and intersubunit binding site at the α4:α4 subunit interface at the level of α4Leu256/α4Ile315 with both sites extending toward the extracellular end of the transmembrane domain. We also show that desformylflustrabromine (dFBr) binds to these two sites identified for LY2087101. These results provide structural information that are pertinent to structure-based design of nAChR allosteric modulators.

An innovative addition to team-based-learning pedagogy to enhance teaching and learning: Students’ perceptions of team exams

The study investigates students’ perceptions of the value of implementing a team exam to enhance learning prior to a summative assessment. Team exams are similar to midterm exams, except that answering questions is a team effort.

Cardiorespiratory Fitness and White Matter Neuronal Fiber Integrity in Mild Cognitive Impairment


Mounting evidence showed the self-reported levels of physical activity are positively associated with white matter (WM) integrity and cognitive performance in normal adults and patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, the objective measure of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) was not used in these studies.

To determine the associations of CRF measured by maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) with WM fiber integrity and neurocognitive performance in older adults with MCI.

Development of gelatin/ascorbic acid cryogels for potential use in corneal stromal tissue engineering

To offer an ideal hospitable environment for corneal keratocyte growth, the carrier materials can be functionalized with incorporation of signaling molecules to regulate cell biological events. This study reports, for the first time, the development of gelatin/ascorbic acid (AA) cryogels for keratocyte carriers in vitro and in vivo. The cryogel samples were fabricated by blending of gelatin with varying amounts of AA (0–300 mg) and carbodiimide cross-linking via cryogelation technique. Hydrophilic AA content in the carriers was found to significantly affect cross-linking degree and pore dimension of cryogels, thereby dictating their mechanical and biological stability and AA release profile. The cryogel carriers with low-to-moderate AA loadings were well tolerated by rabbit keratocyte cultures and anterior segment eye tissues, demonstrating good ocular biocompatibility. Although higher incorporated AA level contributed to enhanced metabolic activity and biosynthetic capacity of keratocytes grown on cryogel matrices, the presence of excessive amounts of AA molecules could lead to toxic effect and limit cell proliferation and matrix production. The cytoprotective activity against oxidative stress was shown to be strongly dependent on AA release, which further determined cell culture performance and tissue reconstruction efficiency. With the optimum AA content in carrier materials, intrastromally implanted cell/cryogel constructs exhibited better capability to enhance tissue matrix regeneration and transparency maintenance as well as to mitigate corneal damage in an alkali burn-induced animal model. It is concluded that understanding of antioxidant molecule-mediated structure-property-function interrelationships in gelatin/AA cryogels is critical to designing carrier materials for potential use in corneal stromal tissue engineering.

Development of the Self-Rated Abilities for Health Practices–Adolescent Version: A Self-Efficacy Measure

An instrument to measure wellness behaviors in adolescent females did not appear in the literature. The purpose of this article is to describe the development and evaluation of the Self-Rated Abilities for Health and Practices Scale–Adolescent Version (SRAHP-A).

Examining a psychological sense of brand community in elderly consumers

As the affluent baby-boomer segment rapidly approaches retirement, marketers are becoming more aware of elderly consumers. Carlson, Suter, and Brown (2008) recently introduced the psychological sense of brand community (PSBC) construct. This research extends their work by examining new antecedents and consequences of PSBC in the context of elderly consumers. Moreover, the study examines how older consumers’ brand equity perceptions contribute to brand advocacy through a psychological sense of brand community (PSBC). Survey data is collected from 592 elderly customers (all over the age of 60) of a luxury motorcycle components and accessories manufacturer. Results suggest that three core facets of consumer-based brand equity contribute to older consumers’ PSBC: perceived quality, perceived value for the cost, and brand uniqueness. Moreover, a PSBC motivates older consumers to participate in (and pay for) social brand communities as well as increases positive word of mouth and brand evangelism.

Three-dimensional numerical simulation of total warpage deformation for short-glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene composite injection-molded parts using coupled FEM

Based on the effects of natural cooling on the warpage of the injection-molded parts, a concept of total warpage deformation was proposed. A three-dimensional numerical model of total warpage for the injection-molded parts of short-glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene (PP) composites was established using coupled finite element method (FEM). The total warpage deformation is composed of two parts: stress-induced deformation during injection molding and thermally induced shrinkage deformation after ejection. The residual stress, temperature, and anisotropic thermal and mechanical properties formed in injection molding were subsequently transferred into the thermal stress analysis package as initial conditions. On account of the difference between the fluid and structural mesh, the tetrahedral and hexahedral mesh types were used in injection molding simulation and thermal stress analysis, respectively. The comparison between the simulation and experimental results showed that the simulated warpage deformation agreed well with the experimental measurements quantitatively and qualitatively, suggesting the validation of the proposed numerical model.

Bioengineered keratocyte spheroids fabricated on chitosan coatings enhance tissue repair in a rabbit corneal stromal defect model

Cultivated cell spheroid transplantation is widely studied as a means of facilitating tissue regeneration. Chitosan biomaterial has been shown to promote keratocyte aggregation and multicellular spheroid formation. This study provides further evidence on application of bioengineered keratocyte spheroids for corneal stromal tissue engineering. In an allogeneic rabbit model of stromal destruction caused by bacterial keratitis, the corneas were intrastromally injected with isolated keratocyte suspensions or aggregated spheroid grafts at same cell number. Results of clinical observations and histological examinations on postoperative day 14 showed that when an antibiotic eye drop is only medication for inhibiting bacterial growth, permanent damage to stroma occurs, leading to disorganization of collagen lamellae and tissue structure as well as loss of corneal transparency and visual function. Intrastromal grafting of keratocytes provided additional benefits to overcome drawbacks of limited disease treatment performance associated with topically applied antibiotics. In particular, as compared to their cell suspension counterparts, bioengineered keratocyte spheroids had higher ability to preserve cellular phenotype, secrete collagen matrix, and enhance graft retention, suggesting excellent repair capability for managing stromal tissue defect and alleviating corneal haze/oedema. In summary, the findings emphasize the role of keratocyte configuration (i.e., two‐dimensional monolayer or three‐dimensional spheroid) in determining therapeutic potency of cellular allografts for stromal tissue reconstruction. Transplantation of keratocyte spheroids cultured on chitosan substrates may represent a promising strategy for corneal stromal repair.

Effects of a sleep hygiene text message intervention on sleep in college students

To test the effectiveness of a text-message intervention to promote sleep hygiene to improve sleep in young adult college students.