CURE Collection

Browse through the collection of CUREs that have been submitted by community members. You can use the faceted search at the right to narrow the view of the collection. You can also use the free text search at any time.Contribute a CURE to the Collection »


Results 1 - 10 of 45 matches

Population & Community Ecology
Cascade Sorte, University of California-Irvine
Students in a Population and Community Ecology class participate in coastal marine research focused on understanding factors determining population sizes and community interactions, particularly in the context of species that appear to be shifting their ranges with climate change. Students participate in all aspects of the research from making observations and collecting data in the field to defining questions, stating hypothesis, designing and completing statistical analysis, and interpreting and presenting results. The outcomes are a research proposal, research paper, and poster presentation. All are intended to be at a level appropriate for use as a writing sample or presentation at undergraduate conferences. Results are incorporated into the ongoing research project led by the course instructor and graduate student teaching assistant.

Discipline: Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate, Ecosystems, Environmental Science, Oceans and Coastal Resources, Life Sciences:Ecology, Life Sciences
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Field Research, Basic Research, Applied Research
State: California
Target Audience: Upper Division, Non-major, Major
CURE Duration: A full term
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Genome Solver: Microbial Comparative Genomics
Gaurav Arora, Gallaudet University
Genome Solver began in 2011 as way to teach Bioinformatics tools to undergraduate faculty. As part of the Genome Solver project as a whole, we developed a Community Science Project (CSP) for faculty and students to join. The CSP explores horizontal gene transfer (HGT) between bacteria and the phages that infect them. Students get involved in this project and develop testable hypotheses about the role HGT between bacteria and phages play in microbial evolution. Our own work has demonstrated that undergraduates can produce publishable data using this approach. We invite faculty and their students to participate in the search for additional evidence of this type of HGT by investigating the vast wealth of phage and bacterial sequences currently in databases. All that is needed is a computer, an Internet connection, and enthusiasm for research. Faculty and students can work on an organism of interest or we can help them pick organisms to explore these phenomena. By pooling all of the information from a variety of small projects under the umbrella of the Genome Solver CSP, we will be able to better understand the role of HGT in bacterial evolution.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Evolution, Genetics, Life Sciences, Microbiology, Computer Science, Environmental Science:Ecosystems
Core Competencies: Using mathematics and computational thinking, Analyzing and interpreting data
Target Audience: Major, Non-major, Introductory
CURE Duration: Multiple terms

Analyzing datasets in ecology and evolution to teach the nature and process of science
Rebecca Price, University of Washington-Bothell Campus
This quarter-long project forms the basis of a third-year course for majors and nonmajors at the University of Washington, Bothell called Science Methods and Practice. Students use databases to identify novel research questions, and extract data to test their hypotheses. They frame the question with primary literature, address the questions with inferential statistics, and discuss the results with more primary literature. The product is a scientific paper; each step of the process is scaffolded and evaluated. Given time limitations, we avoid devoting time to data collection; instead, we sharpen students' ability to make sense of a large body of quantitative data, a situation they may rarely have encountered. We treat statistics with a strictly conceptual, pragmatic, and abbreviated approach; i.e., we ask students to know which basic test to choose to assess a linear relationship vs. a difference between two means. We stress the need for a normal distribution in order to use these tests, and how to interpret the results; we leave the rest for stats courses, and we do not teach the mathematics. This approach proves beneficial even to those who have already had a statistics course, because it is often the first time they make decisions about applying statistics to their own research questions. We incorporate peer review and collaborative work throughout the quarter. We form collaborative groups around the research questions they ask, enabling them to share primary literature they find, and preparing them well to review each other's writing. We encourage them to cite each other's work. They write formal peer reviews of each other's papers, and they submit their final paper with a letter-to-the-editor highlighting how their research has addressed previous feedback. A major advantage of this course is that an instructor can easily modify it to suit any area of expertise. Students have worked with data about how a snail's morphology changes in response to its environment (Price, 2012), how students understand genetic drift (Price et al. 2014), maximum body size in the fossil record (Payne et al. 2008), range shifts (Ettinger et al. 2011), and urban crop pollination (Waters and Clifford 2014).

Discipline: Environmental Science:Ecosystems, Environmental Science, Geoscience:Paleontology, Life Sciences:Evolution, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate
Core Competencies: Planning and carrying out investigations, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Analyzing and interpreting data, Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Basic Research
State: Washington
Target Audience: Upper Division, Major, Non-major
CURE Duration: A full term

CREARE: Coral Response to Environment Authentic Research Experience
Juan Ramirez Lugo, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus
There is growing body of evidence to support that students who directly experience authentic scientific research are more likely to continue onto advanced degrees and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In an effort to introduce more students to the benefits of scientific research we have drawn on an ongoing research project aimed at understanding how Corals Respond to the Environment (CRE) to develop an interdisciplinary laboratory course based on Authentic Research Experiences (ARE). A small cohort of undergraduate students enrolled in a semester-long course, entitled CREARE, perform biochemical experiments in the laboratory, analyze environmental data by R statistical software and prepared a report modeled after a research manuscript to present their work. The impact of CREARE on student learning gains and attitudes towards science is being measured, as is the impact of CREARE on participants' career choices and retention in STEM. This multidisciplinary research program addresses the impact of climate change on the health of a critically endangered coral species, ultimately leading to a better stewardship of this invaluable resource. Furthermore, CREARE offers a unique experience for students, one that may serve as a model for the development of more research-based courses, leading to improved retention in our STEM departments.

Discipline: Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate, Environmental Science, Life Sciences, Statistics, Life Sciences:Molecular Biology, Environmental Science:Oceans and Coastal Resources
Core Competencies: Using mathematics and computational thinking, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Analyzing and interpreting data
Nature of Research: Field Research, Wet Lab/Bench Research
Target Audience: Major, Non-major
CURE Duration: A full term

Using NSF's NEON Data in an Undergraduate Ecology CURE on the Ecological Impacts of Global Climate Change
Jennifer Kovacs, Agnes Scott College
We live in a time where we can see a very real need for a basic understanding of ecological terminology, concepts, and methodologies to improve public policy and other ecological problem-solving decisions, especially in light of global climate change. Across the field, there is a major push to incorporate computational thinking and an understanding of human social systems throughout the science curriculum. In ecology and other STEMM fields, basic programming and coding skills have become essential and marketable, as has the ability to mine and analyze large data sets.In this semester-long CURE, students individually develop and answer their own ecological research question using a selection of publicly available datasets from the expansive NSF NEON data repository. Generally, at the beginning of the course the instructor selects several data products from a specific geographic region. After gaining familiarity with the NEON project through videos, a NEON data tutorial, and a case study, students also use these curated NEON data products to begin forming their independent research projects. Most students ultimately incorporate other data products either from NEON or other databases into their final research projects. Students use mostly R to download, wrangle, and analyze their data. The instructor assumes no prior knowledge of R or coding at the beginning of the course. Throughout the semester, students complete mini-assignments and tutorials which introduce them to the necessary coding skills to download, clean, analyze, and visualize their chosen data products. Additionally, students are provided with a wide range of free resources, including videos, tutorials, and the free online textbook Passion Driven Statistics to help them master the skills they need to complete their individual research projects. During weekly in-class one-on-one meetings with the instructor, students work to identify, collect, and analyze data that would address an existing hypothesis/ problem in the field of ecology and global climate change. Ultimately, students present their findings to the larger campus community during the annual undergraduate research day at our institution.

Discipline: Environmental Science, Life Sciences, Ecology, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate
Core Competencies: Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Using mathematics and computational thinking, Analyzing and interpreting data
Nature of Research: Basic Research
State: Georgia
Target Audience: Upper Division
CURE Duration: A full term

Race & Incarceration in The USA Overtime: Analysis of Trends & Forecast
Shyamal Das, Elizabeth City State University
The course in Race and Ethnic Relations examines the evolving nature of America's social and cultural diversity in terms of different race and ethnic groups (Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and American-Indians), and the issues of racial prejudice, hatred, and discrimination in the country. In so doing, students complete the final paper based on research on the relationship between race and incarceration. The research utilizes arrest data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics website. Students derive the research questions and corresponding hypotheses based on their review of literature. Based on their data analysis, they attempt to explain or interpret the arrest data on the relationship between race and the arrest rates by types of crimes. There two steps: (1) individuals complete data gathering and analysis as well as interpretation in the first place; and (2) groups will be formed by at least three students in each. The groups will prepare the final group paper and present the findings in the class. The current assignment illustrates on the Step 1 of the final project. Each student will select an assigned crime type (see the Assignment Topics) from the Bureau of Justice Statistics database, and run the graphs to show the trends by race. Assess whether students can explain the arrest rates by race. Then each student runs another analysis to forecast the arrest rates for the coming ten to fifteen years. The final group outcomes will be presented in the class. The proposed CURE incorporates a STEM component into social science as students run forecasting models for an important social problem in the USA.

Discipline: Statistics, Social Sciences:Sociology
Nature of Research: Basic Research
Target Audience: Major, Upper Division, Non-major
CURE Duration: A full term

Community Flood Risk Assessment from Rising/Surging Seas Project
Kevin Kupietz, Elizabeth City State University
Globally 634 million people, 10% of the world's population, live in coastal areas less than 10 meters above sea level. According to 2010 census data, 123 million people, 39% of the United States population, live in coastal counties with an estimated increase to this number by 8% in the 2020 census. As natural disasters have been seen to increase in frequency and severity in the past five years coupled with expected sea rises from climate change it is important that anyone involved with the safety and resiliency planning of their organization/community have an understanding of how to scientifically assess risk from flooding in order to mitigate and recover from the effects. This project allows students the ability to develop skills to utilize computer modeling systems and to apply the data to real world communities in examining risk to structures as well as different groups in the community.

Discipline: Environmental Science:Sustainability, Ecosystems, Oceans and Coastal Resources, Land Use and Planning, Natural Hazards, Social Sciences:Psychology, Sociology, Social Sciences, Computer Science, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate, Geoscience, Environmental Science, Geoscience:Hydrology, Ocean Science, Engineering
Core Competencies: Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering), Analyzing and interpreting data, Planning and carrying out investigations, Using mathematics and computational thinking, Developing and using models
Nature of Research: Applied Research
State: North Carolina
Target Audience: Non-major, Major, Upper Division
CURE Duration: A full term

Neurogenetics Laboratory: Mapping a functional circuit for cold nociception in Drosophila
Sarah Clark, Georgia State University
Students will work in small groups to identify neural populations that may be involved in the Drosophila larval response to noxious cold. They will use the GAL4/UAS expression system to excite or inhibit neural populations and assess the impact of their manipulation on the larvae's behavioral response to cold. If a relevant neural population is identified, students will then identify (based on current literature) genes that are likely to be involved in neurite development and/or maintenance in that population. They will use mutations and/or RNA interference to disrupt the function of these genes in the population of interest and assess the effect of the disruption on neuronal morphology and larval behavior.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Molecular Biology, Genetics, Cell Biology
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Planning and carrying out investigations
Nature of Research: Wet Lab/Bench Research, Basic Research
State: Georgia
Target Audience: Major, Upper Division
CURE Duration: A full term

Biomass conversion into highly useful chemicals
SAPNA JAIN, Alabama State University
This is CURE based course that aims at bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge in chemistry and its practical applications at solving real-world problems. It gives students an opportunity to construct and synthesize their knowledge and skills by learning to apply theoretical knowledge to practice by the laboratory research. The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the fundamental concepts of chemistry, synthetic methods and techniques. The emphasis will be on novel catalysts synthesis and evaluating their activity towards biomass conversion to liquid fuel and useful chemicals. Students will design synthesize, deduce identities of the biomass conversion products from chemical and spectral clues, and predict reaction products.

Discipline: Environmental Science:Energy, Sustainability, Engineering, Environmental Science, Chemistry:Analytical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry
Core Competencies: Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering), Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Planning and carrying out investigations
Nature of Research: Applied Research
State: Alabama

Synthesis of the Intermediate of a Catalytic Reaction: An NHC-Stabilized, First-Row Transition Metal Complex
Meng Zhou, Lawrence Technological University
The advanced synthesis laboratory course object allows students to study the synthesis, purification, and characterizations of a new diamagnetic organometallic complex of a first-row transition metal. The air-stable complex is stabilized by an N-heterocyclic carbene spectator ligand. It also bears an actor ligand and therefore, is potentially a reactive intermediate of a catalytic reaction. The synthesis of a reactive intermediate is the key to elucidate the mechanism of catalysis. The instructor chooses the first-row transition metal and the actor ligand based on his or her interests. The CURE starts from an NHC-ligated complex that does not bear this actor ligand but is otherwise similar. In our CURE, an anion ligand-replacement reaction was used to install the actor ligand, but an instructor may choose other approaches. The students will evaluate their results by standard spectroscopic analyses using UV-vis, FT-IR, and proton NMR (60 MHz or above) analysis.

Discipline: Chemistry:Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry
Nature of Research: Wet Lab/Bench Research, Basic Research
State: Michigan
Target Audience: Major, Upper Division
CURE Duration: A few class periods