International Undergraduate Research Program

As part of the SC Life Project, we sponsor one or two undergraduate students each year for life science research experiences in laboratories throughout the world. These research experiences are arranged by the students and Clemson University faculty members.

Larissa Clarke: San Andrés Isla, Colombia

In the summer of 2012, SC Life sent Environmental and Natural Resources concentration in Conservation Biology major, Larissa Clarke, to the island of San Andrés Isla, Colombia to conduct research with CORALINA and the Climate Change Fellows Program.  Larissa worked with researchers to quantify erosion rates in gully channels and investigated effective stabilization practices on the island.  Larissa commented, "Throughout the island of San Andrés, part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, erosion is degrading stream banks and mangrove habitats and is therefore having an adverse effect on tourism and fisheries. Monitoring and experimental data is important in being able to predict the effects of changes in land use and climate. This project investigated different options for gully erosion control on the hill slopes of the island, including no stabilization, native planted vegetation, and installations of recovered tires."

Andrew Morris: Louvain, Belgium

In the summer of 2012, SC Life sent Biochemistry major, Andrew Morris, to Louvain, Belgium to conduct research with Dr. Marc Boutry at Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.  Andrew's research concentrated on the isolation and characterization of the membrane transport protein PDR5 in Nicotiana tabum.

Briattany Banik

Brittany Banik: Singapore

During the summer of 2011, Bioengineering major, Brittany Banik, traveled to Singapore for 8 weeks to conduct research with Joachim Say Chye Loo in the School of Materials Science & Engineering at Nanyang Technological University.  The objective of Brittany's research focused on the synthesis of various hydroxyapatite nanoparticle morphologies with future investigation projected to test the toxicity effects on osteoblast cells. The purpose of the experiment was to determine whether or not there was a specific nanoparticle shape that could improve bone growth through the stimulation of osteoblast cells. Applications of this research include bone diseases such as osteoporosis and low bone mass.

Hannah Warren

Hannah Warren: Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

In 2011, Biological Sciences major, Hannah Warren spent 12 weeks in the research laboratory of Dr. Felix Breden at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.  Her research study was based on the melanocortin 4 receptor gene (mc4r) in poeciliid fishes.    Hannah explained, "A recently published paper sequenced the alleles of mc4r in one poeciliid fish, the swordtail, and my work this summer was to get started on sequencing this gene in mollies."

Jane Welch

Jane Welch: Strasbourg, France

Genetics major, Jane Welch, spent 12 weeks of her 2010 summer in Strasbourg, France.  There, she worked in the Institute of Cellular and Molecular Biology for Dr. Elena A. Levashina, whose lab researches the Anopheles gambiae immune response to malaria parasites. Part of this research involved the use of RNA interference to mediate knockdown of the expression of genes of interest.  During Jane's internship, her role in the lab was to examine the limit of RNAi in A. gambiae.

Dylan Hale

Dylan Hale: Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Biological Sciences major, Dylan Hale, spent the summer of 2010 at the University of Melbourne with Dr. Alex Andrianopoulos.  Dylan explained his research;  "Penicillium marneffei is a fungal pathogen native to southeast Asia where it primarily infects patients with preexisting immune disorders, such as AIDS.   Interestingly, P. marneffei appears to exist in the wild as two different mating types, and it has all of the genes required tomate.  My research objectives were the following: 1) Begin to determine the role these genes play in P. marneffei, and 2) Generate a fungal strain that can be used in controlled mating experiments."

Monique McKiever

Monique McKiever: Lisbon, Portugal

In the summer of 2009 SC Life sent Biological Sciences major, Monique McKiever, to Lisbon, Portugal for 8 weeks to conduct research with Dr. Maria Manuel Mota at the Institute of Molecular Medicine.  Monique worked with researchers interested in determining which host factors inhibit or benefit the growth of the parasite Plasmodium berghei, the causative agent of Malaria. The objective was to determine whether the host’s protein Rab 5 is important in the parasite’s establishment in the host.

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Thomas Niemeier

Thomas Niemeier: Johannesburg, South Africa

In 2009, Microbiology major, Thomas Niemeier, traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa and stayed for 2 1/2 months conducting research with Dr. Valerie Mizrahi at the Molecular Mycobacterium Research Unit of the University of Witwatersrand.  Thomas said, “My research focused on understanding the genetic mechanism of drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis - the causative agent of the tuberculosis infection. Specifically I worked on characterizing the process by which the bacterium is able to change to a highly mutagenic phenotype.”

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Don Mackay

Don Mackay: Hobart, Tasmania & Australia

Don Mackay spent the summer of 2008 traveling to Hobart, Tasmania and Australia to work under Dr. Simon Foote at the Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania. He studied the differences in white cell response between two different strains of mice infected with malaria (P. chabaudi) to investigate the influences of the mutation of a thrombopoietin receptor, MPL, on malaria resistance.

David Jacobs

David Jacobs: Rijeka, Croatia

David Jacobs, Microbiology, traveled to Rijeka, Croatia to work under Dr. Marina Šantić at the Medicinski Fakultet Rijeka (Medical School of Rijeka). Jacobs studied parts of the mechanism by which Francisella tularensis (F. tularensis), an accidental human pathogen, invades and avoids the immune system. He studied the early and late stages of the infection process (as yet, they were not well-understood) in an effort to understand how we could hinder infection.”

“Learning to work with human tissue cultures in Croatia gave me a better understanding of my discipline and a broader view of America's standing in the scientific world.”