Biology Professor Named Chair of the Histochemical Society's Education Committee

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Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 3:30pm
Dr. Scott Tanner

Dr. Scott Tanner, Assistant Professor of Biology at Limestone College, was recently named Chair of the Histochemical Society's Education committee. The Histochemical Society is an organization of scientists sharing a passion for the development and use of visual techniques that provide biochemical and molecular information about the structure and function of cells, tissues and organs and for the dissemination of this knowledge through education and outreach. The newly formed Histochemical Society Education Committee manages a new “Ask an Expert” resource to support its members and the scientific community.

Professor Tanner has also published three recent journal articles within the last year. Abstracts are included below.

Tanner SM, Segarra VA: Comparing outdated and updated textbook figures helps introduce undergraduates to primary literature. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education. 2015. 16(1). 90-2. PMID: 25949767

Abstact: Didactic tools such as textbooks collect and synthesize many research findings in order to present students with a field’s current understanding of a subject. But even the most authoritative textbook quickly becomes out of date. Our understanding of the natural world is always being refined. This is particularly evident in fast-paced fields such as genetics, where new technologies and methods lead to powerful new findings and radical changes in how we view inheritance, disease, and their molecular determinants. It is important that we introduce students to a particular field not only as a collection of facts but also as an active area of hypothesis-driven research and experimentation.  In the context of the undergraduate classroom, we have used side-by-side comparison of old and updated textbook figures to introduce students to the field as a dynamic area of scientific inquiry. We also use this exercise as an opportunity to introduce students to relevant primary literature. We find that this is an effective way to transition students (at both the 200 and 300 level) from their textbook to primary literature as a source of information and to generate class discussion throughout the semester.

Culbreath CC, Tanner SM, Yeramilli VA, Berryhill TF, Lorenz RG, Martin CA. Environmental-mediated intestinal homeostasis in neonatal mice. Journal of Surgical Research. 2015. 198(2). 494-501. PMID: 25940157.

Abstract: Immunoglobulin A (IgA) plays a key role in coating luminal antigens and preventing translocation of harmful bacteria. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor that when stimulated activates factors important for barrier function and intestinal homeostasis. We hypothesize that AhR signaling is critical for establishment of intestinal homeostasis in neonates.  Mice: C57BL/6 (B6) AhR+/+ wild type (WT), B6.AhR-/- Aryl-hydrocarbon receptor knockout (KO), and B6.AhR+/+ raised on an AhR ligand-free diet (AhR LF). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to measure fecal and serum IgA levels. Bacterial translocation was measured by culturing the mesenteric lymph nodes.  Two week old KO mice had significantly less fecal IgA compared with WT (and AhR LF, P value = 0.0393. The amount of IgA from the gastric contents of 2-wk-old mice was not significantly different. At age 8 wk, AhR LF mice had significantly less fecal IgA than WT and KO P value = 0.0077. At 2 wk, KO mice had significantly higher levels of bacterial translocation and at 8 wk AhR LF had significantly higher levels of bacterial translocation compared with WT.  In neonatal mice, the lack of AhR signaling is associated with loss of intestinal homeostasis, evidenced by decreased levels of IgA and increased bacterial translocation. In adult mice, exogenous AhR ligand and not receptor signaling is necessary for maintenance of intestinal integrity.

Tanner SM, Berryhill TF, Ellenburg JL, Jilling T, Cleveland DS, Lorenz RG, Martin CA: Pathogenesis of Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Modeling the Innate Immune Response.  American Journal of Pathology. 2015. 185(1). 4-16. PMID: 25447054

Abstract: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in premature infants. The pathophysiology is likely secondary to innate immune responses to intestinal microbiota by the premature infant's intestinal tract, leading to inflammation and injury. This review provides an updated summary of the components of the innate immune system involved in NEC pathogenesis. In addition, we evaluate the animal models that have been used to study NEC with regard to the involvement of innate immune factors and histopathological changes as compared to those seen in infants with NEC. Finally, we discuss new approaches to studying NEC, including mathematical models of intestinal injury and the use of humanized mice.