491 Projects

The following is a list of faculty members who are currently accepting 491 students to work in their lab. A list of projects follows each of the PI's names.

Also included are contacts for Service Learning projects.  Also, see this semester's Creative Inquiry Projects.

NOTE: Approval is required from the PI before you can sign up for a 491 section. If you do not obtain approval, you will be dropped from the class.

Dr. Lisa Bain

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Understanding the mechanisms by which arsenic causes developmental toxicity
  2. Determining how ATP-dependent transport proteins alter the metabolism, disposition, and elimination of drugs and toxicants

Dr. Bill Baldwin

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Adverse drug reactions:  Drug-drug and drug-toxicant interactions that cause liver disease.
  2. Can drugs and toxicants cause obesity?     
  3. Toxicity of environmental chemicals that act through nuclear or steroid receptors and cause endocrine disruption.
  4. Cloning, phylogenetics, and expression of nuclear receptors in Daphnia magna or other crustaceans

Dr. Rick Blob

Possible Student Projects:

Topics examining the biomechanics of movement and morphological diversity of vertebrates, particularly amphibians, reptiles, and waterfall-climbing fishes.  Contact Dr. Blob to discuss potential specific projects.

Dr. Felix H. Barron

Potential Student Projects:

Medical herbs, an alternative to medical drugs. Biological activities exploratory studies.
     * Accepting BIOSC 491 Students

Dr. Doug Bielenberg

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Application of a virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) method for transient gene knockouts in trees.
  2. Cloning and sequencing of candidate genes for fruit color, rooting potential, and dormancy behavior in peach trees.

Both of the above projects would provide students with training in core molecular/microbiological techniques.

  1. Phenotyping and genetic analysis of adventitious rooting potential in peach (spring/summer only).
  2. A wide range of bioinformatics projects related to global gene expression, QTL mapping, and gene discovery and annotation.

*Exact project goals will be determined on a case by case basis following an interview with the student.

**Interest in plant biology welcome, but not required. Students will be gaining skills and training that is widely applicable across all plant/animal/microbial systems.

Dr. Min Cao

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Listeria monocytogenes and Vibrio cholerae biofilm regulation and control.
  2. Antimicrobial and anti-aging effects of nutraceuticals.

*Note - The individual projects are TBD. Contact Dr. Cao to set up an interview.  Accepting BIOL 4910 and MICR 4910 students.

Dr. Barbara Campbell

Potential Student Projects:


  1. Characterizing microbial communities and their activity during creek restoration processes
  2. Examining local and coastal waterways for bacteria associated with contamination from different sources (human, wild animal and agricultural.)
  3. Understanding the physiology of bacteria isolated from extreme environments
  * Accepting MICR 4910 and MICR HONOR 4910 Students

Dr. Michael Childress

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Lobster olfaction and social behaviors
  2. Coral reef community structure and diversity
  3. Parrotfish foraging behaviors
  4. Climate change impacts on blue crabs (computer modeling)

*NOTE: You must complete at least one semester of creative inquiry (Conservation of Marine Resources) before beginning BIOSC 491.  Contact Dr. Childress for application details before signing up for BIOSC 491.

Dr. Saara Dewalt

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Ecology and population genetics of exotic, invasive plants
  2. Ecology and physiology of epiphytes
* Accepting BIOSCI 491 and BIOSC 491H Students

Dr. Mike Henson

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Detection of bacteriophage in the soil and aquatic environments using electron microscopy. 
  2. Evaluation of possible bacterial hosts for bacteriophage in soil and aquatic environments.

* Accepting MICRO 491 Students

Dr. Xiuping Jiang

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Antibiotic resistance in commensal and pathogenic bacteria
  2. Antimicrobial activities of natural products
  3. Discovering probiotic bacteria
  4. Applying microbes for food productions
  5. Rapid pathogen detection and inactivation using nanotechnology

(Techniques used in the lab include: and anaerobic techniques, cell culture, immunoassays, real-time PCR, PFGE, MIC, and pathogen identification)

Dr. Tamara McNealy

Projects in need of a researcher:

  1. Interaction of microbial biofilms with titanium and/or carbon nanomaterials
  2. Analysis of protozoa feeding on biofilms contaminated with nanomaterials

In both of the above projects the researcher will learn manipulation of protozoa and pathogenic bacteria, establishment of microbial biofilms, safe handling of nanomaterials, chemistry of nanomaterials, light and confocal microscopy analysis, quantitative computer analysis of microscopy data

  1. Proteomic analysis of bacteria-nanomaterial interactions

The primary method used in this project will be two dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by mass spectrometry analysis. The project will involve working with pathogenic bacteria strains and metallic nanomaterials.

Dr. Peter Marko

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Genetic analysis of marine populations (laboratory techniques, statistical analytical methods).
  2. Genetic identification of marine species.
  3. Forensic analysis of seafood products.

More specifics available upon request.

*Accepting BIOSC 491 & 491H students.

Dr. Amy Moran

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Feeding behavior of sea urchin larvae
  2. Growth patterns of oyster larvae under different feeding regimes
  3. Structure and histology of sea slug eggs
  4. Physiology of sea urchin or oyster larvae               
* Accepting BIOSCI 491 and BIOSC 491H Students

Dr. Jim Morris

Potential Student Projects:

  1. "Molecular mechanisms of nutrient sensing in the parasite Trypanosoma brucei

*Note - The individual projects are TBD, and are constantly shifting

Accepting BIOSC 491 Students

Dr. Andy Mount

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Topic is TBD. Contact Dr. Mount to set up an interview.

*Accepting 1 BIOSC 491 Student
**Position is for 2007 - 2008 academic year

Dr. Lisa Rapaport

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Analysis of data regarding the behavior of wild Brazilian monkeys
  2. Analysis of demographic data from international zoo "studbooks" on various issues of theoretical and conservation interest
Accepting BIOSC 491 Students

Dr. Matthew Turnbull

Potential Student Projects:

  1. Cloning, expression and analysis of insect and virus gap junction genes and proteins
  2. Functional analysis of insect and virus gap junctions in vivo and in vitro
  3. Molecular ecology of crayfish-branchiobdellid symbiosis, including gene expression and physiological characteristics
  4. RNAi analysis of immune gene function in flies and cell-culture

(Techniques used in the lab include: PCR; cloning; recombinant protein expression; insect cell culture; Southern, northern, western blotting; microscopy including immunomicroscopy; etc)

Service Learning

Potential Projects:

Fall 2013
Dr. Rick Blob---Assist in teaching BIOL 3070*, Vertebrate Biology laboratories.  Accepting BIOL 4950 & BIOL 4951 both section 001.    
*Contact Dr. Rick Blob for approval to take course.
Dr. Tammy McNutt---Assist in teaching BIOL 3151*, Functional Human Anatomy laboratories.  Accepting BIOL 4950 & BIOL 4951 both section 002.
*Contact Dr. Tammy McNutt for approval to take course.
Dr. Krista Rudolph—Assist in teaching MICR 3051*, General Microbiology laboratories. Accepting MICR 4950 & MICR 4951 both section 001.
*Contact Dr. Krista Rudolph for approval to take course.
John Abercrombie---Assist in teaching MICR 2051*, Introductory Microbiology laboratories.  Accepting MICR 4950 & MICR 4951 both section 002.
*Contact John Abercrombie for approval to take course.

    Check back soon. More projects will be posted here as the PI's come up with them.