Freshman

Internship with the Kasanka Baboon Project

We are looking for an undergraduate intern willing to earn credit for working 3- hours per week wit the Kasanka Baboon Project.

Duties include organizing data collected on wild baboons, helping to promote the project via social media, and participating in creating a fundraising campaign for 2019. fundraising. There is potential for the student to learn how to collect behavioral data on baboons and contribute to scientific publications.

Bioinformatics, X-chromosomes, Dead Viruses, and You

The Markstein lab develops computational tools to find DNA sequences with regulatory functions that control when, where, and at what levels genes are expressed. Recently, we found that GA-repeat sequences—which are known to augment gene expression on the X chromosome of fruit flies—are also enriched on the X chromosomes in mammals, from opossums to humans (see D’Souza et al. 2018: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/12/04/485300).

Quantifying features of male Colias butterflies that females prefer

Two extremely closely related butterflies, Colias eurytheme (the alfalfa butterfly) and Colias philodice (the clouded sulfur), are sympatric throughout eastern North America, and appear to hybridize so frequently that they share a very large fraction of their genomes. That's crazy -- different species aren't supposed to hybridize, except maybe only rarely, because otherwise they'd blend so thoroughly that they'd merge to become a single species. And yet, the differences between them persist: C.

How do cells divide asymmetrically?

When a cell divides to create two cells that are different from each other, how does this occur? How does the organism “know” that cell A goes on the right and cell B goes on the left, or how does the cell ensure that the division and all the cellular contents get segregated correctly? The Facette lab is interested in how cells divide asymmetrically, and we study this process in plant cells.

Uncover the molecular secrets in host-microbe mutualism with genetic tools

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 systems. We seek BURA students to dissect the genetic basis of the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis, using forward genetics (map-based cloning) and reverse genetics (CRISPR/Cas9) approaches.

Climate Change and Fish Physiology

Temperature and other factors pose lethal and sublethal limits on animals, determining where they can thrive. My research focuses on how temperature and food availability affect fish physiology (e.g. growth, energetics, swimming ability) to understand how climate change affects fish populations and their geographic distributions. I specifically work with alewife and blueback herring, two Species of Concern that are an important food source for aquatic, marine, and terrestrial animals along the Eastern coast of the United States.

CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of plant development genes

The goal of this project is to determine which genes are involved in the development of a specialized floral tissue type in grasses - the awn. The awn projects from the tissue that protects the developing seed and has diversified widely throughout different grass species. Awns are specialized for a number of ecological roles, including photosynthesis to provide the seed with nutrients. Although the ecology of awns has been examined, the genetics and development of awns have not been well-studied.

Discovering microbial associations that can improve plant growth

Current agricultural practices will not meet the nutritional needs of the human population that will reach nine billion people by the middle of this century. There is a clear need for sustainable agricultural innovations that can increase yields and provide food security without incurring environmental degradation. Soil microbes are known to form associations with plants and affect plant health, and in recent years, interest has grown in exploiting the beneficial associations that plants establish with microbes.

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