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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

Invasive Species Ecology and Climate Change Research

The Stinson lab is looking for two students interested in a holistic ecological research experience; the research will involve field and laboratory work. Overall, we are looking for students interested in earning 1 or 2 credits for helping with ecological research within the Environmental Conservation Department. Before November, some time will be spent out at the Harvard Forest (in Petersham, MA) looking at microhabitat effects on a metapopulation of garlic mustard – an invasive, biennial plant.

Exploring the Diversity of Wood-warbler Singing

Birds of many species in the wood-warbler family use their songs in especially interesting ways. For example, their songs fall into two categories, and the two kinds of songs are used in different contexts, vary over time and space in different ways, and have different functions in communication. However, although many species in the family share this two-tiered singing system, species differ in the sizes of their song repertoires, how the difference between the two categories is encoded, how song form varies within a population, how songs change over time, and so on.

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.

Emerald Ash Borer Technician

I am seeking a motivated student interested in conservation, ecology, or entomology to work with me on field and laboratory studies focused on controlling the invasive insect, the emerald ash borer. Since its discovery in Michigan in 2002, the emerald ash borer (EAB) has spread to 25 states in the US, killing millions of native ash trees. Management of EAB now focuses on biological control through the use of three introduced parasitoids that specialize in destroying EAB.

Designing genetic markers to identify Brachypodium species

Brachypodium distachyon is a premier model species for biologists working with grasses. However, B. distachyon is difficult to distinguish morphologically from two other species: B. staceii and the hybrid tetraploid, B. hybridum. This has made expanding the breadth of B. distachyon collections from the wild very difficult, hindering the development of resources for this species. Professors Caicedo (Biology), Hazen (Biology) and Tyler (BMB) have a large collection of Brachypodium spp.

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