Cell and Molecular Biology of Yeast Mitosis

You will learn to use a combination of genetics, biochemistry, cell biological assays, and fluorescence microscopy to try to understand the process of mitotic spindle stabilization and/or microtubule dynamics and/or dynein motor regulation. The project depends on your specific experience and interest. For example, it could involve analyzing movies of yeast cells labeled with GFP-tubulin, or constructing a brand new plasmid for gene tagging, or performing western blotting to confirm protein levels, or using the fluorescence microscopy to capture dynamic spindle behavior.

Genetics and molecular mechanisms of host-microbe mutualism

The Wang Lab, located in the Life Science Laboratories, is interested in the mechanisms of beneficial host-microbe interactions. Our experimental system is the symbiosis between legumes and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia, with important economic and environmental relevance, as well as similarities to pathogenic interactions. The BURA student will be engaged in dissecting the genetic basis of the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis, in particular characterizing the defects in host mutants unable to sustain a successful symbiotic relationship.

Zebrafish Neural Stem Cells and Brain Growth

The Karlstrom Lab investigates the formation and growth of the forebrain and pituitary gland in the zebrafish. We are examining how cell-cell signaling controls stem cell proliferation to regulate tissue growth and cell renewal in larvae and adults. This position is for students ready to pursue a serious honors thesis project, including summer research. The student will begin by quantifying normal brain growth during larval development using a series of fluorescent transgenic zebrafish lines.

Insect antimicrobial peptides and novel ways to control flies

In 2011, Jules Hoffmann received the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for his research on antimicrobial peptides in the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. This was significant research because antimicrobial agents used in human medicine are often no longer effective. Microbes have developed resistance to many of our current antimicrobials. Hoffmann’s research was significant because now researchers had access to a variety of new antimicrobials never before used against human pathogens.

Hormone-Behavior Responses to Chronic Stress

Research in the Meyer lab focuses on the relationships between hormonal and behavioral responses to stress, especially chronic or long-term stress. Stressful events trigger the adrenal glands to secrete several hormones, including epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol, into the bloodstream. Over periods of weeks to months, circulating cortisol is incorporated into keratin-containing tissues like hair and fingernails, where the hormone can be measured as a biomarker of long-term adrenal secretory activity.

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