Effectiveness of the Smallholder Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agricultural Systems App for Subsistence Farm Systems in Ecuador
Carter D. Allred, H. L. Boman, S. J. Clawson, C. A. Freestone, S. N. Hockett, C. A. Holden, E. R. Phipps, C. N. Quigley, M. M. Rupard, and N. C. Hansen
Small-scale agriculture is the primary source of food for the majority of the developing world. It is a vital component of the total global land usage for agricultural production, and sustaining and improving subsistence farms is critical for meeting global food demand as well as maintaining the integrity of agro-ecological systems. Due to the important role that smallholder farmers play in global agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN developed the Smallholder Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agricultural Systems App (SAFA), a 100-question survey tool created for simplicity and wide-reaching applicability. SAFA is flexible in nature in that it can be applied to any farming system across any region. Due to the far-reaching potential influence of SAFA, it is significant that it be both relevant and feasible to utilize in a broad variety of contexts. We used the SAFA app to survey four subsistence farms throughout various rural ecosystems in Ecuador. We then evaluated each question based on its relevance and feasibility in its specific context. The goal of this project was to evaluate the use and utility of the SAFA Smallholder Tool in characterizing sustainability of smallholder farms in Ecuador. Specifically, the study evaluates and compares the data gathering process, the model output, and the perceived quality of the survey tool across multiple farms in contrasting productions systems. The results of this research can be used to further refine and improve the SAFA app for future use. To evaluate the survey, each member of our research team rated every question on a 0-5 scale for both relevance and feasibility, as well as offering qualitative feedback for the whole survey. We found that while the majority of the SAFA questions were both relevant as well as feasible, the survey contained several questions that were irrelevant, as well as some that were relevant, but difficult to answer for a variety of reasons. Overall, the nature of the survey as a global tool means that it is at risk of being too general to accurately measure sustainability if not adapted to local contexts. Finally, we proposed several recommendations for improving the survey.
Joshua J. Cassinat, Justina P. Tavana, Josue D. Gonzalez Murcia, Rachel C. McDonald, Ben Bearss, Joshua K. Parker, and John S.K. Kauwe
Rheumatic heart disease is an inflammatory heart disease that affects millions of people around the world. Especially high rates of the disease can be found in Oceania, including the island nation of Samoa. Genetic studies of immune response genes have provided insight into a possible genetic link to increased susceptibility to rheumatic heart disease, including the genes that code for the toll-like receptor (TLR) protein family. One of the functions of TLR proteins is to recognize the presence of bacteria via identification of bacterial flagella.
You Are What You Eat at Any Age: Carbon and Nitrogen Analysis of Mummies from an Ancient Egyptian Necropolis
Stephen Funk and R. Paul Evans
The BYU Egypt Project at Fag el-Gamus necropolis and adjacent Seila Pyramid has studied over 700 mummies excavated over the past 30 years. The necropolis includes an open area with densely located vertical burial shafts and a hill with horizontal burial shafts. The chronological and dietary history of the mummies was assessed using stable isotopy and 14C analysis of accessible biological samples.
Macrophage Infiltration and Activation in Old and Young Skeletal Muscle Following Lengthening Contractions
Jamie P. Kaluhiokalani, Jacob R. Sorensen, and Robert D. Hyldahl
•Human skeletal muscle is capable of robust regeneration following damage. •Muscle repair following injury is dependent on the timely activity of pro-inflammatory (M1) and anti-inflammatory, pro-regenerative (M2) macrophages. Following acute muscle injury, healthy skeletal muscle experiences a rapid and vigorous inflammatory response. •Macrophages clear necrotic tissue and facilitate satellite cell behavior through the secretion of cytokines and growth factors. •It is known that aged muscle experiences poor regenerative potential following injury, but the cause is not well-understood.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate macrophage behavior in old and young people in the context of muscle damage.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized that 1) old skeletal muscle would have a greater proportion of M2 like macrophages at baseline and in the early stages of muscle repair compared to the young, and 2) old myoblasts will demonstrate increased proliferation and differentiation potential when cultured in young macrophage conditioned medium.
Rationale: The immune system, which deteriorations with age, has an important role in promoting skeletal muscle regeneration. This suggests that aged immune cells, like macrophages, may contribute to the gradual decline of skeletal muscle regenerative capacity.
Lindsey Meservey, Thomas Knapp, Nathan Mella, Tyler Heaton, Tanner Heaton, Jonathon Hill, and Paul Savage
Rheumatic heart disease is a deadly condition pervasive in tropical third world countries like Samoa. In order to prevent rheumatic heart disease, we seek to understand the origins of rheumatic heart disease. Specifically, we want to understand if streptococcal infections of the skin, commonly called impetigo, could be responsible for triggering rheumatic heart disease.
Beating Clusters Created with Cardiac Extracellular Matrix from Decellularized Pig Hearts and Repopulated with Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes
Isaac Myres, Bryce Allen, Silvia Moncada, Sebastian Valencia, Beverly L. Roeder, and Alonzo D. Cook
Due to the high prevalence of heart disease, scarcity of donors, and high risk of transplant rejection, we aim to engineer patient specific beating cardiac patches and whole hearts for transplant.
Emilee Carr, Elise Melhado, Emily Loertscher, Trever Thurgood, Ruchira Sharma, and Julianne H. Grose
Antibiotic resistant bacterial strains are a major crisis in the world due to the difficult nature of curing individuals afflicted with them. Phage therapy has been proposed as an alternate treatment for these bacterium. In Dr. Julianne Grose's lab, bacteriophages were against the bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. To isolate, environmental samples were utilized in enrichment cultures that were ultimately used in serial dilutions, plaque purification, electron microscopy, DNA isolation, sequencing, and genome annotation. The P. aeruginosa phage, TF17, infects a bacterial strain that is highly related to a strain that causes fatalities as an opportunistic infection in patients with cystic fibrosis. When antibiotics are not strong enough or the side effects are not worth the trouble, phage therapy can be the answer that cures these patients. TF17 is contributing to an international database of isolated and sequenced phages that are being used to treat people right now, and will continue to in the future. One day, it may save a life.
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