Fruit Fly Brain Research Published in Neurotoxicology

Boz Institute is proud to announce the publication of a new paper, Locomotion and brain gene expression exhibit sex-specific non-monotonic dose-response to HFPO-DA during Drosophila melanogaster lifespan. The paper was published in Neurotoxicology, volume 96, and examines the potential sex-specific stress responses to a new chemical (HFPO-DA) used in manufacturing processes on populations of fruit flies. Due to the public health concern of prior chemicals (PFAS) used in manufacturing, this paper aims to uncover the potential effects this replacement chemical (HFPO-DA) has on the brain, behavior and lifespan.

To read this publication and others from Boz, click HERE.

Student Metagenomics Database Launch

Recently, during the STEM Seminar Symposium on June 1st, 2023, Boz launched their metagenomics database, presented by Flannery McLamb. The database gives global access to student collected data for researchers and students alike. Regular updates and international research will continue to make the database an important hub for researchers looking for metagenomic data. However, the significance not only lies in the applicability of the database – the information found on the database was also partially gathered by high school and college students working in programs led by Boz Institute. This allows students to participate in global science at an age when tangible real-world science isn’t often taught. By seeing the global possibility of their efforts, students can understand the potential they have in science. 

To view the database, click HERE.

Innovative STEM Symposium

On Thursday, June 1st, Boz Institute – in collaboration with UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies, hosted their annual Innovative STEM Symposium. More than 150 students, researchers, and scientists gathered at UC San Diego Park and Market to learn about ongoing research and student-based programs at Boz. 

Some of the presented work included research on the multigenerational effects of chemicals on male and female flies, the monitoring of endangered black abalone through environmental DNA, and the risk assessment of the highly contaminated Tijuana River Estuary. The presentations all highlight Boz’s in-lab work, which fosters relationships between researchers and students in high school and college. Through this research, students not only learn about innovative science, but also gain real world experience not often offered in a typical school setting. 

Nearly 30 highschool students enrolled in Boz Institute’s internship programs also presented at the symposium. Led by Ken Hirata, these programs gave students the opportunity to design and execute the research based on local environmental interests.

Boz was proud to introduce Metagenomics Database created by Flannery McLamb and her team; the database is a globally accessible hub for metagenomic data sharing and relevant research publications. Like the database, Boz is expanding globally – with upcoming projects in Ghana, Chile, Mexico, and Vietnam. Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date on all of Boz’s projects.

Four Masters in Four Weeks

Within a span of four weeks in Spring 2022, four Boz researchers completed their Master of Science programs:

  1. Armando Vazquez – UCSD M.S. / B.S.; Thesis Title: “A network approach to investigating the role of the Sorghum bicolor transcription factor SbWRKY86 in promoting plant resistance to aphids”
  1. Sylvia Gong – SDSU Graduate School of Public Health; Thesis Title: “Acute GenX exposure induces spinal deformations and arrhythmia, and alters expression of genes involved in cardiac, vascular, neural, and visual systems during zebrafish (Danio rerio) early development”
  1. Zuying Feng – SDSU Graduate School of Public Health; Thesis Title: “Physiological and Transcriptomic Effects of Hexafluoropropylene Oxide Dimer Acid (GenX) in Caenorhabditis elegans during Early Development”
  1. Jeanne Vu – SDSU Graduate School of Public Health; Thesis Title: “Locomotor ability and brain gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster exhibit non-monotonic dose-response to HFPO-DA”

We are immensely proud of their efforts and accomplishments and look forward to their continued research endeavors at Boz (Armando and Zuying) and learning about their new science and technology adventures (Sylvia – currently at Cardinal Biocraft and Jeanne – currently at Meta). 

Abalone Research along the California Coast

In collaboration with National Park Service (NPS) and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boz Institute is implementing eDNA methodology to investigate the distribution of endangered black and white abalone populations along the Southern California Coast.  Recently in May 2022, after establishing positive lab eDNA controls, Boz and NPS researchers and students collected eDNA samples from Channel Islands, CA  in areas known to have  abalone cluster populations.  The purpose of this phase of the study is to establish field positive controls and test the methods’ sensitivity to distinguish white from black abalone wild populations, before sampling more challenging sites with historically populated but currently unknown abalone distribution. 

Boz Scholars Published ADHD Study in Scientific Reports

Boz Institute research team, including scholars Katie O’Connell, Natalie Olander, and Sora Haagensen, have published their work about pre-COVID-19 ADHD childhood and adolescence trends in U.S. in the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Portfolio). The team analyzed public health and socioeconomic data and discovered underlying associations between ADHD diagnosis in children and critical factors related to socioeconomic status, including race, financial status, family structure, and neighborhood characteristics. Upon completion of the research immersion programs Boz offers in partnership with UCSD Extension, Katie, Natalie, and Sora joined our research team. Click here to read about their experience.

Boz Scholar Receives Co-author Credit in Scientific Journal

Summer 2019 research immersion program scholar, Sora Haagensen, fellow Boz researchers and Dr. Keith Lombardo from the National Park Service have published their work Relative genetic diversity of the rare and endangered Agave shawii ssp. shawii and associated soil microbes within a southern California ecological preserve in the journal Ecology and Evolution. This was a collaborative research project between Boz and the National Park Service.

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Virtual Career Panels

We hosted virtual career panels for our fall 2020 pre-college research immersion scholars. Industry Professionals (scientists, project manager, CEO/founder) from Janssen, Catalent and Hemex Health joined a medical student from Northstate University and spoke with our scholars about their career journeys, ethics, workplace culture, lessons learned from good and bad career decisions and more.

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Boz Scholars Compete at Oregon Bio Pitch & Partner 2020

Two Oregon High School students and Boz research immersion scholars, Angela Zhao (fall 2020) and Natalie Olander (summer 2020), competed in the translational and basic research categories respectively at the Oregon Bio Digital conference – Pitch & Partner 2020 event. Angela’s presentation entitled Putting the Brakes on Parkinson’s Disease from work done as an intern at the VA Portland Healthcare System. Natalie presented the research she worked on at Boz, the Effects of HFPO-DA Stress on C. Elegans. Natalie and Angela were two high school students among 19 competitors including graduate students, scientists and entrepreneurs competing for prizes in four categories at the three-day virtual bioscience conference.

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Boz is testing for COVID in San Diego wastewater

Since the emergence of the novel Coronavirus, one of the most important defenses is widespread testing. Boz is partnering with San Diego State University to test for SARS-Cov2 in San Diego wastewater. Our researchers are analyzing samples from the wastewater treatment facility and correlating results with data provided by the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency to help identify trends and develop a predictive risk assessment model. For details about this project and other SDSU COVID-19 projects addressing vulnerable San Diego communities, click here.