Student Spotlight

Amanda Francis and Taylor Capasso have been selected to represent UFCD at the Hinman Symposium this year!

They were part of our summer 2014 research program and are incoming freshmen to the UF College of Dentistry DMD program.


Amanda Francis’s project is“Epigenetic Regulation of the Inflammatory Response in Localized Aggressive Periodontitis” A. Francis, H. Huang, T. Langaee, S. Wallet, I. Aukhil, L. Shaddox.

Amanda Francis

In Amanda’s words, “Francis’ research is being conducted under her mentor Dr. Luciana Shaddox, whose laboratory is mainly focused on localized aggressive periodontitis (LAP). This rare but rapidly progressing form of periodontal disease generally affects children, however, little is known of the etiologic factors that contribute to disease. In her project, Amanda built upon Dr. Shaddox’s previously demonstrated toll-like receptor (TLR) mediated hyper-responsive phenotype in a cohort of LAP patients. The objective of the study is to examine the role of epigenetic regulation of inflammatory genes in LAP patients, specifically the DNA methylation status of genes in the TLR pathway and how this regulates the immune response.”

Taylor Capasso’s project is “Enoxacin and bis-enoxacin stimulate GW Body formation and alter regulatory exosomes produced by murine breast cancer cells” by Taylor Capasso, Dontreyl Holsey, Lindsay VonMoss, Edward K. Chan, L. Shannon Holliday.

Taylor Capasso

Taylor described her experience, “We tested whether enoxacin and bis-enoxacin stimulated GW Body formation in the 4T1 murine breast cancer cell line as well as isolated cancer exosomes from cell culture and determined if exosomes produced by 4T1 cells are altered when treated with enoxacin and bis-enoxacin. GW Bodies were used as a surrogate marker for microRNA activity. We concluded that like enoxacin, bis-enoxacin, stimulates microRNAs in cancer cells and may be a bone targeted anticancer agent and both drugs alter cancer derived exosomes, which may be a mechanism for their anticancer activity.”