Sophomore

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).

Molecular Mechanisms of Fungicide Resistance in Sclerotinia homeocarpa

The turf pathology lab is looking for a motivated undergraduate student with an interest in mycology and plant pathology to be involved in projects related to microbiology, genetics, and bioinformatics of the turfgrass fungal pathogen Sclerotinia homoeocarpa. In this lab, students will gain experience in lab techniques including (but not limited to) DNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis and culturing and propagation of fungi. Prior relevant lab experience is preferred, though coursework in biotechnology and/ or microbiology will be sufficient.

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.

Vertical launches by butterflies: When do they do it?

A few years ago, Tom DeNatale, a student in Tropical Field Biology, discovered a surprising new trick that butterflies use when they launch themselves into flight: they do a little flip into the air such that they end up being upside down at the end of their first downstroke. So what? For every downstroke there needs to be an upstroke, but since the butterfly is upside down, the "upstroke" becomes another downstroke, propelling the butterfly vertically.

Vertical launches by butterflies: How do they do it?

A few years ago, Tom DeNatale, a student in Tropical Field Biology, discovered a surprising new trick that butterflies use when they launch themselves into flight: they do a little flip into the air such that they end up being upside down at the end of their first downstroke. So what? For every downstroke there needs to be an upstroke, but since the butterfly is upside down, the "upstroke" becomes another downstroke, propelling the butterfly vertically.

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.

Biosynthesis of natural products

Our lab is interested in unravelling the biosynthetic pathways of natural products 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.

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