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.
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.
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.
Research Project: Rule Abstraction in Honey Bees Prerequisite: Interest and willingness to work with live animal subjects; Availability during nights and weekends Description: I am interested in the shared cognitive experiences of humans and non-human animals. Specifically, I seek to discover how humans and animals learn rules and use them to produce patterns of behaviors. Previously, I have seen common rule-learning mechanisms in rat and humans. I am now interested to see if this rule-learning mechanism can be seen in an invertebrate species. This summer I will be be collecting data on rule abstraction and pattern performance in honey bees. Student experience will involve instruction in handling of honey bees along with appropriate techniques to use in a live-animal laboratory, daily interaction/maintenance of subjects and equipment, instruction in the field of comparative cognition, writing research proposals, data analysis, and production of presentations.