Students granted university-wide summer research awards
Biology students captured 5 of the 16 summer research scholoarships, which were offered by the new Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship. These competitive university-wide summer scholarships are funding projects under multiple professors in the department. Awarded projects included:
* Fionna Surette: "Impact of acute corticosterone administartion in nestling eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) on fledgling, parental behavior, and parental corticosterone levels." Fionna is exploring the effects of increasing stress hormones during nestling development, with a focus on nestling development trajectory and parental behavior/physiology. Advisor: Dr. Jason Davis
* Jessica Irvin: "The utility of pokeweed antiviral protein against mosquito-borne viruses." Jessica is attempting to express an antiviral protein in insecr cells in order to determine whether the protein can inhibit infection by and/or replication of mosquito-borne viruses. Advisor: Dr. Justin Anderson
* Stephanie Nicholas: "Effects of royal jelly derived hormones on growth and development of a holometabolous insect, Manduca sexta." Stephanie is studying the impact of major royal jelly proteins on growth anf reproduction in tobacco hornworms, and simultaneously trying to map out the degradation of those proteins under different environmental conditions. Advisor: Dr. Jason Davis
*Daniel Metz: Daniel is working to develop molecular tools to detect parasites in environmental samples. This will help establish the presence or absence of the parasites in their host species as well as in the water column. He is also developing protocols for genotyping the definitive host species (muskrat). This will help to understand the population structure of the definitive host and determine concordance with the parasite which, in the end, will help understand disease transmission in natural settings. Advisor: Dr. Bob Sheehy
* Laken Cooper: Laken Cooper is exploring how the newly invasive house sparrow has expanded across Kenya from the coast of Mombasa (where introduced) to the inland area of Nairobi. Specifically she and Dr. O'Brien are working with a team of researchers exploring the immunological, metabolic and reproductive facets of species invasiveness. Focusing on reproductive physiology, they are trying to understand how invasive species manage energy loads to simultaneously maintain high fecundity and respond to novel pathogens in new environments.