Research Project: Mathematical models of social justice issues Prerequisite: Must have taken Calculus 1 Description: Use mathematical tools to investigate social justice issues. For example the effects of income differences on health outcomes.
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: Allosteric Modulators for mGluR5 Prerequisite: An interest in the synthesis and testing of biological molecules. Description: Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) are involved in numerous cellular processes ranging from neuronal development to the processing of cognitive, motor and sensory information. Several neurological and psychiatric disorders like Fragile-X syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease, addiction, depression, and schizophrenia have been linked to derailed signaling pathways associated with mGluRs. Due to the therapeutic benefits of targeting allosteric binding sites of these receptors, a synthetic pathway to new mGluR5 negative allosteric modulator (NAM) chemotypes is being investigated. A new scaffold has been designed. A balance of physico-chemical properties required to penetrate the CNS, careful spatial arrangement of substituents, and metabolic innocuousness are considered in the design.
Research Project: Gastrointestinal Physiology of Insects: Hissing Roaches as a Microbial Model Prerequisite: Comfort with large insects 1-2.5 inches Description: Madagascar roaches utilize carbonic anhydarse in a similar manner to mammals. Its localization in the GI tract provides inference into pH environments, affecting bacterial flora in roach GI tract as in humans. This bacterial flora may also contain pathogens like E. coli. Transformed E. coli are also being used to investigate potential E. coli colonization in roach GI tracts and mechanism of food contamination and disease.
Research Project: Magnocellular influences on the control of eye movements Prerequisite: Basic algebra, basic Human Biology, Introduction to Psychology desired (but not necessary) Description: The primate visual system has three major streams: magnocellular, parvocellular, and koniocellular. The objective of the study is to determine with human experiments, influences of the (fast) magnocellular stream on eye movements along axes of the visual field. Impacts include predicting information-seeking behavior when disorders involve visually-driven attention (e.g., Hemispatial Neglect, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder), and the development of biologically-inspired information-seeking systems. Magnocellular influence on eye movement control will be assessed by manipulating stimulus properties to impair magnocellular activity, during visual search of cluttered displays.
Research Project: The use of Drosophila melanogaster to study cell growth and cell division Prerequisite: A good foundation of classical genetics Description: In my lab we utilize the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) to study the genetic regulation of cell growth and cell division, two molecular pathways often disrupted in human cancer.The developing eye of Drosophila melanogaster provides a model in which to study Yorkie signaling in cell survival, cell division, and cell differentiation and specification. Controlled genetic crosses can target the disruption of Yorkie at different times and locations within the developing eye and the resulting phenotypic changes can be studied. This will provide a mechanism to study how the translocation of a single protein can affect three vey different developmental processes in the same developing tissue. This knowledge can help to better understand the role of Yap1/2 (human Yorkie) activation in human genetic disorders.