11-15

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.

Testosterone synthesis induced by auditory stimuli in the zebra finch brain

I’m really interested in studying how hormones rapidly fluctuate in the brain to acutely regulate behaviors. In the Healey lab, we analyze how steroids influence vocal learning in a rapid and dynamic way. To study this question, we use a songbird species, zebra finches, and focus on an auditory region of the forebrain, the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM). Previous data have shown that hearing songs induced an increase of estradiol (E2) in this region in both males and females.

Wine quality of emerging grape varieties for New England

The cold climate wine industry has recently boomed in the Northeastern America after the successful breeding of cold-tolerant grape varieties. These cultivars are also of interest in a broader geographic area as they are the most resilient to climate change. Cultural practices can have tremendous effect on fruit juice quality (sugar, acidity,...) and might allow to control disease by sustainable means rather than the use of pesticides. This project will quantify the effect of cultural practices on grape varieties to optimize fruit juice quality and control diseases.

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.

Spiders, Worms, and Pillbugs – Oh My! Sorting Leaf Litter Invertebrates

Suburban development changes habitat structure, influences resource availability, and affects wildlife behavior. As food availability in a habitat changes, animals must make foraging decisions to optimize the use of their time and energy while still avoiding predator detection. I am seeking volunteer undergraduate research assistants for Fall 2016 to assist me with my PhD research on food availability in suburban forest habitats and its effect on the behaviors of Wood Thrushes and Gray Catbirds rearing chicks.

Bird TV? Behavioral Analysis of Nesting Songbirds from NestCam Footage

Suburban development changes habitat structure, influences resource availability, and affects wildlife behavior. As food availability in a habitat changes, animals must make foraging decisions to optimize the use of their time and energy while still avoiding predator detection. I am seeking volunteer undergraduate research assistants for Fall 2016 to assist me with my PhD research on food availability in suburban forest habitats and its effect on the behaviors of Wood Thrushes and Gray Catbirds rearing chicks.

Zebrafish Neurobiology: Fluorescent transgenics and brain development

The Karlstrom Lab investigates the formation and growth of the ventral forebrain in the zebrafish. We have created/collected a large number of transgenic lines that allow us to 1) document gene expression domains in the brain and 2) study how cell-cell signaling systems control forebrain development and growth. This entry-level undergraduate project is to work with a graduate student to maintain these zebrafish transgenic lines and use fluorescence microscopy to examine gene expression patterns in the brain.

iPads and Children's Attention Networks (iCAN)

This project, iPads and Children’s Attention Networks (iCAN), will examine the ways in which young children's attention can be affected by tablet play in comparison to regular toy play. We are seeking RAs to help recruit participants, run the experiment, and enter collected data. New RAs will be trained in recruitment processes, procedures for running participants, SPSS statistical software analyses, and electrophysiological data (i.e., EEG) collection and analyses.

Prerequisites:
Psych 100, Psych 240, and Psych 241 (or equivalent courses)
3.5 GPA

Armored scale insects: DNA and microscope slide preparation

Our laboratory uses DNA sequences and morphological characters to investigate the diversity, evolution and ecology of armored scale insects (class Insecta: order Hemiptera: family Diaspididae), especially in tropical rainforests. Paid lab assistantships are available for students to prepare DNA and microscope slide mounts from individual armored scale insect specimens. For advanced students, independent research projects are also possible.

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