Sophomore

Development of Social Understanding

We are seeking dedicated students to assist with a set of studies exploring how social cues influence cognitive and emotional function in children and young adults. These studies incorporate behavioral, emotional and neural markers of reactivity. People who can stay on for 2 semesters are preferred. Potential RAs should have good time management skills and be comfortable interacting with children.

Novel, bioinsectidal ways to control adult house flies

Insects are developing resistance to most pesticides and many of the new ones, such as the neonicotinoids, are banned because of their negative effect on pollinators. A new strategy that is being developed uses natural products or biopesticides that occur in nature and should have little or no effect on non-target organisms or the environment. These products probably have antimicrobial effects on the insect’s natural microbiome and may destroy these microbes. Maintaining a nearly constant microbiome for any organism is essential for that organism to survive.

Evaluating the Effect of Interplanting Oyster Mushrooms with Vegetables

Looking for a motivated independent study student interested in interspecies interactions between saprophytic fungi and vegetable crops (Pleurotus spp. (Oyster mushrooms) and Brassica spp.). Oyster mushroom mycelium release enzymes and acids that help break down organic matter in the soil and release potentially useful compounds for crop production. When interplanted with brassica plants some species have increased the yield of these crops by over 20%, while some have negative effects on plant yield.

Global Invaders Project

Invasive species reduce biodiversity and are considered a major threat to ecosystems worldwide. Despite general knowledge of their widespread impacts, we still lack a consistent list of which species are invasive, where they have been studied, and what sorts of specific impacts have been identified. This information is critical for understanding the conditions that lead to invasion and informing effective monitoring and management.

Avian Bioacoustics - Urban noise and bird song.

Noise affects how birds communicate. Conservation biologists have become interested in how anthropogenic noise may impact behavior and physiology, which in turn may impact population dynamics, evolution of behavior, and community structure. This project is investigating how nightingales and other species of European birds respond to anthropogenic noise. The investigation focuses on how noise might change the acoustic characteristics of songs.

Biosynthesis of plant natural products and their applications

Our lab is interested in unravelling how natural products are biosynthesized in various crop species and medicinal plants.

Plants produce an array of chemicals for adaptation to their ecological environment. These specialized metabolites have been adapted for use as pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. Our research includes identification and biochemical functional characterization of the enzymes to decipher biosynthetic pathways of interest (with a focus on terpenes) and incorporation of protein engineering to understand the mechanistic basis of enzymes of interest.

The function of sleep in early childhood

Sleep protects and enhances memory in young adults. Specifically, performance changes on a range of tasks are greater following an interval with sleep relative to changes over an interval spent awake. Sleep also enhances encoding of subsequent memories. In young adults, a mid-day nap is sufficient for gaining these performance benefits. Unlike adults, mid-day naps are routine for young children. The age at which children wean from this biphasic sleep pattern is often influenced by parent and school schedules.

Probing the propensity of soil bacteria for couch-potatohood

The DeAngelis lab is looking for two students to help with a project looking at what makes soil bacteria decide to behave like slobs rather than lean mean growing machines. Students will measure optical density and carbon dioxide concentrations, in addition to preparing growth media. Students should be reliable and conscientious workers, show attention to detail even when faced with repetitive tasks, able to follow instructions, have neat handwriting, and work at a reasonable pace.

Research Assisstant Position in Dr. Elizabeth Jakob’s Spider Lab

I am a second-year Ph.D student looking for an assistant to help me design experiments, read scientific literature, and run trials in a visual ecology lab. I study behavior and visual capabilities in jumping spiders using a custom-made machine that tracks retinal movements. The selected applicant will be trained to use this machine, work outdoors to collect spiders, and help with other tasks around the lab.

Molecular genetic 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.

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