Baker, Dr. Stokes S.

Research Project: Next generation sequening approach to study water pollution response
Prerequisite: Completed General Biology, General Chemistry and Elemental Functions
Description: Michigan is blessed with water resources. Unfortunately, past economic activities have harmed waterways in the Great Lakes region. The goal of the project is to understand how the base of aquatic food chains (e.g., water plants) respond to water pollution. One of the most common pollutants is phosphate. To identify genes that respond to phosphate, duckweed was exposed to high and low phosphate conditions. Next generation sequencing technology was used to identify 5,566 gene products that were differentially expressed. The laboratories focus during the summer of 2016 will be to assess if the expression patterns observed in the laboratory are similar to expression in natural settings. Additionally, next generation sequencing approach, called metagenomics, will be used to identify microorganisms important to the plant. The techniques used in this investigation are the same as used in many biomedical research laboratories.

Belanger, Dr. Rachelle

Research Project: Quantitative Analysis of the Accumulation of Atrazine and its Metabolites in the Digestive Gland of Crayfish
Prerequisite: Understanding of how to make dilutions, as well as an understanding of general Biology and Chemistry.
Description: Atrazine is the most commonly used herbicide in the United States and is heavily applied to farm fields in the Midwestern region each year to control the growth of broad-leaf weeds. After atrazine has been applied to crops, it has a high susceptibility for leaching and run-off, especially after heavy rainfalls. High concentrations of atrazine (>80 ppb or μg/L) may ultimately enter nearby streams and rivers and remain high for several weeks, ultimately affecting aquatic organisms. Atrazine concentrations that are well over the “safe” concentration limit of 3 ppb set by the Environmental Protection Agency have routinely been reported. Our study will use crayfish to examine bioaccumulation of atrazine and its main metabolites (i.e., diaminochlorotriazine (DACT), deisopropylatrazine (DIP), and deethylatrazine (DE)) in the digestive gland (liver) and muscle tissue following exposures to environmentally relevant concentrations of atrazine.

Carmona, Victor

Research Project: Population Dynamics of Urban Forests
Prerequisite: comfortable in both lab & field environments; technophile
Description: Use image analyses of historical satellite maps to measure landscape-level changes in some of Detroit's urban forests (e.g. Palmer Park); Use static-life tables to evaluate the population structure of selected tree species; Build survivorship models of selected tree species to identify and quantify missing cohorts in the population.

Conant, Dr. Stephanie

Research Project: Cell Cycle Protein Analysis and Regulation
Description: Proteins that regulate cell cycle and cell division are key components of tumor initiation and progression in all types of cancer. Our lab focuses on a key regulator of cell cycle in epithelial cells identified in may variants of ovarian cancer. Study of this protein and its interactions aims to clarify a role in cell division and identification of potential therapeutic targets for tumor elimination.

Finkel, Jonathan

Research Project: Determining the Mechanisms of Adherence and Biofilm Formation in the Pathogenic Fungi Candida albicans
Description: Worldwide there are ~1 billion fungal infections per year, with Candida albicans as the primary fungal infection isolated in the clinical setting. Taken together the annual cost of antifungal therapies in the United States is estimated at $2.6 billion. Of great concern is the lack of diversity of antifungals. C. albicans is a commensal fungus that resides on mucosal surfaces of humans, where it is benign for most of the time. Infection occurs if immune function is impaired or if an environmental niche becomes available. Many C. albicans infections arise because of its ability to grow as a biofilm. Our current research aim is to screen a mutant library of cell wall genes to identify targets that regulate adherence and biofilm formation. We will use an adherence assay to screen a large number of genes in a short amount time. The study of these unique regulation mechanisms holds the promise of identifying new pathways and mediators of adherence and biofilm formation. As C. albicans cell w