Angela Whittom Reiken
Reiken@mc.edu // 601.925.7783 // Box 4505
Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences
As the coordinator for off-campus research through the Department of Biology, I will be happy to assist you in gaining credit for your future research experience! If you are a current MC Biology student interested in off-campus research, the syllabus and forms required for spring 2016 are now posted in the documents section. Here, you may read the instructions for registering and the requirements. Please look over this information first, then you may email me with any questions you may have!
Welcome to Dr. Reiken's Faculty Homepage!
Current Research Synopsis
Effects of Pseudognathalium obtusifolium Extracts on Cells: Studying the regional plant, Pseudognaphalium obtusifolum, an annual herb that is a member of the Asteraceae family, may lead to the discovery of possible medical uses. Historically, this Eastern North American plant has uses in traditional medicine among many Native American groups and early settlers of this region, yet little scientific research has delved into its actual medicinal value. Our research aims to investigate the effects of P. obtusifolium extracts on eukaryotic cells and determine if the extracts have antibacterial, antioxidant, or anticancer properties. Extracts were initially obtained from collected plants by treating each plant with different solvents – ethanol, hexane, and dichloromethane. Plants were treated with liquid nitrogen and homogenized and the extracts were suspended in DMSO. Cultures grown with extract dilutions causing a significant increase or decrease in proliferation are tested for toxicity, cell viability, changes in mitochondrial morphology and distribution, and production of reactive oxygen species. The overall purpose of continuing this line of investigation is to determine the characteristics of these extracts and to look at the long-term implications of whether organic compounds from P. obtusifolium are capable of being used in lieu of synthetic compounds to promote overall health and treat various forms of disease. These studies will hopefully lay the groundwork for more intensive studies of the reported therapeutic values of P. obtusifolium.
- Anticancer studies: Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium, an annual herb and member of the Asteraceae family, has been extensively used for medicinal purposes throughout historical Native American medicine. The actual therapeutic benefits of this herb have yet to be scientifically determined. Extracts from this plant are known to contain flavenoids, secondary metabolites and phytonutrients, that help protect the plant. Flavenoids are molecules that have been shown to have possible anti-carcinogenic activity, and at least three flavenoids are specific to P. obtusifolium. Of the available extracts, which were previously derived via a serial solvent extraction method, dichloromethane (DCM)-derived extract was chosen as the most likely to contain flavenoid molecules based on the known structure of flavenoids. This research aims to determine if DCM-derived extracts from P. obtusifolium, likely to contain flavenoids, affect the proliferation, viability, and induction of apoptosis in MCF-7 human breast ductal adenocarcinoma cells. MCF7 cells cultured in DCM-derived extract are serially diluted with cell culture media and subjected to flow cytometry analysis for evaluation of changes in proliferation and ratios of live/dead cells. The DCM-derived extract has been found to decrease proliferation of the MCF7 cells in both a time and dilution-dependent manner. MTT cell viability and LDH toxicity assays are performed along with antibody array analysis to determine changes in expression of various apoptotic factors. The data suggests that DCM-derived extracts obtained from P. obtusifolium could be an effective alternative treatment for cancer. Further analysis involves identification of specific proteins having upregulated or downregulated expression using real time PCR, proposal of a signaling pathway, and identification of specific extract components involved in apoptosis of MCF-7 cells treated with DCM-derived extract.
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae studies: Serial dilutions of plant extracts are administered to S. cerevisiae (budding yeast). S. cerevisiae is considered a model cell line and is being utilized to investigate the general effects of each of the extracts on eukaryotic cells. In both quantitative and qualitative assessments, yeast cultured with a particular dilution of hexane-derived extract were shown to have an increase in proliferation. Yeast treated with ethanol- and dichloromethane-derived extracts have decreased proliferation. Additionally, changes in mitochondrial morphology is being observed by immunofluorescence microscopy.
Scientific Research Publications and Reviews
Whittom, A., Villarreal, A., Soni, M., Owusu-Duku, B., Meshram, A., Rajkowska, G., Stockmeier, C., Miguel-Hidalgo, J. (2014) Markers of apoptosis induction and proliferation in the orbitofrontal cortex in alcohol dependence. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. (in press, manuscript ID ACER-14-1483).
Rana, S., Verdin, L., Verdin, L., Giuffria, B., Beasley, J., Bridges, L., Cooper, A., Dhawan, G., Dolia, R., Downing, J. M., Ferger, Z., Hasan, S., Lawson, W., Nguyen, Y., Sipin, A., Shnaydruk, A., Waquad, A., Wilbert, G., Williams, Z., Windham, J., Rosado, D. J., and Whittom Reiken, A. 2014). Use of Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium in Native American Traditional Medicine and its Possible Health Benefits. NAAAS & Affiliates Monograph Series 2014 (in press).
Miguel-Hidalgo, J.J., Whittom, A., Villarreal, A., Soni, M., Meshram, A., Pickett, J.C., Rajkowska, G., and Stockmeier, C.A. (2014) Apoptosis-related proteins and proliferation markers in the orbitofrontal cortex in major depressive disorder. J. Affect. Disord. 2014 Apr; 158:62-70.
Miguel-Hidalgo, J. J., Whittom, A., Soni, M., Stockmeier, C. A. (2010) Caspase 8 in the orbitofrontal cortex in major depression, alcoholism and comorbid depression and alcoholism. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 34(S2): 151A.
Miguel-Hidalgo, J.J., Waltzer, R., Whittom, A. A., Austin, M. C., Rajkowska, G., Stockmeier, C. A. (2010). Glial and glutamatergic markers in depression, alcoholism, and their comorbidity. J. Affective Disord. 127(1-3): 230-40.
Bidwell, III, L., Whittom, A. A., Thomas, E., Lyons, D., Hebert, M. D., and Raucher, D. (2010). A thermally targeted peptide inhibitor of symmetrical dimethylation inhibits cancer-cell proliferation. Peptides. 31(5): 834-841.
Hearst, S. M., Gilder, A. S., Negi, S. S., Davis, M. D., George, E. M., Whittom, A. A., Toyota, C. G., Husedzinovic, A., Gruss, O. J., and Hebert, M. D. (2009). Cajal-body formation correlates with differential coilin phosphorylation in primary and transformed cell lines. J. Cell Sci. 122 (11): 1872-1881.
Whittom, Angela A. (©2008). Differential Effects of Nuclear Organization on Artificial Reporter Splicing. ISBN 0549653287, 9780549653288.
Whittom, A. A., Xu, H., and Hebert, M. D. (2008). Coilin levels and modifications influence artificial reporter splicing. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 65 (7-8): 1256-1271.
Hebert, M. D. and Whittom, A. A. (2007). Gene-based approaches toward Friedreich ataxia therapeutics. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 64 (23): 3034-3043.
Selected Abstracts and Presentations
McDonnell, M., Carter, K., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2015). Proliferation, cell viability, toxicity, and protein expression analysis of MCF7 breast ductal epithelial adenocarcinoma cells cultured with Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium dichloromethane-derived extract indicates a possible anti-carcinogenic treatment alternative. Abstract for Poster Presentation by M. McDonnell. 31st Southern Biomedical Engineering Conference Annual Meeting Program, April 30th-May 2nd, 2015, Kenner, LA.
Carter, K., McDonnell, M., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2015).Effects of whole leaf Pseudognathalium obstusifoilum chemical extracts on proliferation of MCF7 adenocarcinoma cells. Abstract for Oral Presentation by K. Carter. Mississippi College and Tougaloo College 10th Annual research Symposium, Mississippi College, Clinton, MS, Spring 2015.
McDonnell, M., Carter, K., Algahtani, O., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2015). Dichloromethane-derived Pseudognathalium obtusifoilum extract decreases proliferation of breast cancer ductal epithelial adenocarcinoma cell line. Abstract for Oral Presentation by M. McDonnell. Health Sciences Division, J. Miss. Acad. Sci. 60 (1):114.
Hirt, S., Young, R., Johnson, J., Fu, E., Tolbert, K., Thomas, D., Girimaji, A., Takkallapelly, S., Townes, J., Wright, J., McDonnell, M., Rosado, D., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2015). Effects of Pseudognathalium obtusifolium extracts on proliferation of Saccharomyces cerevesia. Abstract for Oral Presentation by M. McDonnell. Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology Division, J. Miss. Acad. Sci. 60 (1):51.
Long, L., Bridges, L., Zenon, A., Rana, S., Rosado, D., and Whittom, A. (2015). Pseudognathalium obstusifoilum: revealing the mysterious secrets of a commonplace native weed. Abstract for Oral Presentation by L. Long. Agriculture and Plant Science Division, J. Miss. Acad. Sci. 60 (1):42.
Carter, K., McDonnell, M., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2015).Effects of whole leaf Pseudognathalium obstusifoilum chemical extracts on proliferation of MCF7 adenocarcinoma cells. Abstract for Oral Presentation by K. Carter. Health Sciences Division, J. Miss. Acad. Sci. 60 (1):114.
Patel, N., Thomas, D., Carter, K., Samaradivakara, N., Zenon, A., St. Fleur, V., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2015). Community services shadoweducation projects and activities to reinforce basic science principles. Abstract for Oral Presentation by N. Patel. Science Education Division, J. Miss. Acad. Sci. 60 (1):147.
Rana, S., and Reiken, A. W. (2014). Usage of Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium in Native American Culture And its Possible Health Benefits. Abstract and oral co-presentation for NAAAS and Affiliates International Research Forum, Mississippi College and Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, April 27-May 1, 2014.
Downing, J. M., Lawson, W. J., Williams, Z. C., Baig, S. B., Haong, W., Waquad, A. S., Dolia, R. N., Shnaydruk, A., Goski, V., and Whittom Reiken, A. A. (2014) Effects of bromelain on mucins of the ATCC HTB-55 cell line: possibilities for a novel therapeautic. Abstract and poster presentation by J. Downing for Mississippi College and Tougaloo College 9th Annual research Symposium, Tougaloo College, Jackson, MS, Spring 2014.
Verdin, L., Cooper, A., Dolia, R., Downing, J. M., Rosado, D., Sipin, A., Verdin, L., Waquad, A., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2013). Possible ROS inhibition or antioxidant production of Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium hexane extract. Mol. Biol. Cell24:24 655 (suppl) Abstract No. 1564.
Verdin, L., Cooper, A., Dolia, R., Downing, J. M., Rosado, D., Sipin, A., Verdin, L., Waquad, A., Williams, Z., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2013). P. obtusifolium hexane extract promotes cell proliferation of HBO yeast strain and demonstrates possible antioxidant effects. Mol. Biol. Cell24:24 649-650 (suppl) Abstract No. 1554.
Dramis, N., Cannon, P., Sullivan, S., and Whittom Reiken, A. (2012). Identifying the mtDNA HV Haplotype. Mississippi College Department of Biological Sciences (Extended abstract and short abstract) for Oral Presentation by N. Dramis. Mississippi College and Tougaloo College 9th Annual research Symposium, Tougaloo College, Jackson, MS.
Giuffria, B., Bridges, L., Ferger, Z., Windham, J., Rosado, D. J. and Whittom Reiken, A. (2012). The Effects of Pseudognathalium obtusifolum Extracts on Eukaryotic and Bacterial Cell Proliferation. Mississippi College Department of Biological Sciences (Extended abstract and short abstract) for Poster Presentation by B. Giuffria. Mississippi College and Tougaloo College 9th Annual research Symposium, Tougaloo College, Jackson, MS.*
Whittom, A. A., Miguel-Hidalgo, J. J., and Soni, M. Caspase 8 in the orbitofrontal cortex in major depression, alcoholism and comorbid depression and alcoholism. Presented by J. J. Miguel-Hidalgo. 33rd Research Society on Alcoholism Annual Scientific Conference, June 26-30, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas.
Whittom, A. A. and Hebert, M. D. Aromatic amidines increase transcription through GAA repeats found in Friedreich ataxia. Abstract, oral and poster presentation, University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences Research Day, 2007.
Whittom, A. A. and Hebert, M. D. Differential effects of nuclear organization on artificial reporter splicing. Abstract, oral and poster presentation, University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences Research Day, 2007.
Reiken, A. A., Wolfe, C. L., and Norcum, M. T. (2004). Incorporation and intracellular mapping of his-tagged p43/EMAP II within the multienzyme aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase complex. Abstract and oral presentation for Mississippi Academy of Sciences 68th Annual Meeting, J. Miss. Acad. Sci. 49 (1): 24.
About MeB.S. Biology/Chemistry
The University of West Alabama
The University of Mississippi Medical Center
Department of Biochemistry
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
The University of Mississippi Medical Center