Student and professor working on a project.

Types of SURVE Projects

Biology

The Ronderos biology lab students focus on the characterization of genes in the visual system.  We use a model organism, Drosophila melanogaster, to identify genes required for vision.  These students learn to perform various techniques, including Electrophysiology, DNA isolation, PCR, DNA gel electrophoresis, Enzymatic Restriction Digests, DNA Ligation and Transformation, Preparation of Competent cell, Western blot, basic fly husbandry, and CRISPR experimental design.

The Boyle biology lab uses publicly available museum records to reconstruct how different species' presence and abundance have changed over the 20th and 21st centuries. We use statistical and Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques to test how changes in land-use, agricultural practice, and more have affected biological communities in the United States. Students learn to use the well known R program for statistical analysis and data visualization, mapping, and statistical testing.

The Biggane biology lab students investigate how bioelectricity influences cell behaviors outside the nervous system. Through this work, we aim to understand mechanisms of change in cancer-related cell characteristics (e.g., proliferation, migration, invasion). Students learn techniques in pharmacology, cell culture, microscopy, electrophysiology, computational analysis, gene expression analysis, and western blotting.

Biochemistry

Our Biochemistry lab, together with the biology and chemistry labs, studies biochemical enzyme mechanisms. We also study the mechanism of action of several classes of novel inhibitors of the HIV-1 polymerase reverse transcriptase. Using a combination of biochemical techniques, in silico modeling methods, and organic synthesis, we are trying to design, build, and study increasingly more potent inhibitors of this important viral therapeutic target. This lab is led by Dr. Peliska.

Chemistry

Our students in the Chemistry lab use computational modeling and molecular simulations to understand the mechanisms by which proteins operate. By studying the effects of mutations at important sites in the protein, we explore the pathways of communication throughout the protein to identify allosteric sites, predict amino acids that are critical for function, and identify the molecular basis of the protein's mechanism. This group is led by Dr. Barr.

Engineering

Together with the chemistry lab, our Engineering lab develops and uses statistical analysis techniques for analyzing large and complex data sets. Our current work studies Galvanic Skin Resistance (GSR) as a measure of stress and examines its ability to predict student performance in engineering coursework. This group is led by Dr. Oweis.