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Gabrielle Clark

Undergraduate Major: Mechanical Engineering

Future Plans: Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering

Gabrielle Clark

Gabrielle Clark was born in Dothan, Alabama. At the age of nine she moved to Orlando, Florida. Spring 2014 Gabrielle transferred to the University of Central Florida from Florida International University. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Gabrielle is passionate about STEM outreach to underrepresented communities. She has actively participated in exposing K-12 grade students to STEM. In addition, inspiring them to pursue postsecondary education in STEM related fields. She currently serves as the Pre-College Initiative Chair for the National Society of Black Engineers. Fall 2014, Gabrielle was inducted into Pi Tau Sigma, an international mechanical engineering honors society. Her future educational plan is to obtain a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. Gabrielle's research interest is the biomechanics of inflammation and hematologic processes, particularly in Sickle Cell Disease.

Designing a Rigid, Reliable and Ergonomic Mechanical Structural Support System for the Raven III

Conducted at The University of Central Florida as a part of the Research and Mentorship Program

Mentors: Dr. Zhihua Qu, Professor and Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Central Florida

Abstract: The Raven Surgical Teleportation System is an open source portable surgical robotic system that was developed for both open and minimally invasive surgery. It can be programmed to perform surgical procedures at a remote location. Research on the RAVEN III is currently being conducted nationwide.

Within many laboratories, this system is not currently being tested in its actual environment (i.e. an operating room). To address this issue a mechanical structural support system is being designed to sustain the Raven III. A static and vibrational analysis is executed to validate and optimize the structure's rigidity and reliability before production.

After obtaining the design specifications for the structure, various designs were drafted based on the parameters of the Raven III and its environment. A solid modeling computer-aided design (CAD) software was used to model and alter the system based on the design criteria. Finite element analysis (FEA) was used to simulate and analyze the, mechanical stress, strain and deflection and vibration of the structure. The desired findings are for the mechanical structural support system to have a uniform stress and strain pattern with minimal stress concentrations, small linear deflection and vibration. The FEA will efficiently validate each design to obtain an optimized structure. This structure can then be fabricated and tested for real world applications.

The Role of Red Blood Cell Derived Microparticles in Sickle Cell Disease (SS) Murine Models

Conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a part of the Emergent Behaviors of Intergraded Cellular Systems REU

Mentors: Dr. Zhihua Qu, Professor and Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Central Florida

Abstract: Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is the most common blood disorder in the United States affecting about 100,000 Americans. The hallmark of SCD is vaso-occlusion, where trapped sickled red blood cells impair blood flow and oxygen delivery through out the body. It is caused by a multifactorial process, which includes, endothelial adhesion, inflammation, coagulation, and hemolysis. Cell-derived microparticles play a role in the pathogenesis of SCD by provoking endothelial dysfunction. Circulating hemoglobin homozygous S SCD (SS) red blood cell derived microparticles (RMPs) have been shown to increase erythrocyte and leukocyte adhesion to the endothelial layer. A recent study revealed that activated extracellular signal kinase 1/2 (ERK 1Ž2) is expressed significantly in human SS RMPs, enhancing monocyte adhesion to the endothelium. This study aims to investigate: 1) how the adhesion and internalization of SS RMPs affects endothelial cell (EC) morphology, and 2) if ERK 1Ž2 and phospho-ERK 1Ž2 is expressed in murine SS RMPs. Confluent ECs isolated from normal (AA) mice lungs were seeded onto a 96 well plate or glass cover slips. Samples were stimulated overnight with 10 ng/mL of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), up regulating the expression of adhesion molecules, or were left unstimulated. The ECs seeded onto the 96 well plate were co-incubated with latex beads, AA and SS RMPs, and imaged over a 6 hour time period. The ECs seeded onto the coverslips were co-incubated with low, medium and high concentrations of AA and SS RMPs for 4 hours and imaged with a confocal microscope.  Protein was isolated from AA and SS RMPs for a western blot analysis. 30 and 50 µg of protein were loaded per well to determine the expression of ERK 1Ž2 and phospho-ERK 1Ž2 .The time dependent study showed that the ECs co-incubated with SS and AA RMPs condensed over a 6-hour co-incubation period. The EC monolayer co-incubated with SS RMPs is disturbed over time. The concentration dependent study showed that treatment with SS RMPs at medium concentrations lead to condensing of the ECs and protrusion of the plasma membrane. This is seen in the early stages of programed cell death. The western blot analysis showed that ERK 1Ž2 and phospho- ERK 1Ž2 are not expressed in 30 or 50µg of murine AA and SS RMP protein. These results lead to a conclusion that adhered and internalized SS RMPs may play a role in endothelial dysfunction in SCD by inducing apoptosis. Also, based upon this current study, in murine models, ERK 1Ž2 and phospho- ERK 1Ž2 are not expressed in SS RMPs.