CURE Collection

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Results 1 - 10 of 57 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, Oceans and Coastal Resources, Life Sciences, Ecology, Environmental Science
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Applied Research, Field Research, Basic Research
State: California
Target Audience: Major, Upper Division, Non-major
CURE Duration: A full term
On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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An Arabidopsis Mutant Screen CURE for a Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory Course
Jinjie Liu, Michigan State University
This CURE is designed from a crucial component of a chloroplast lipid signaling research project and has been implemented for a cell and molecular biology laboratory course at Michigan State University. The research laboratory generated an engineered plant line producing a lipid-derived plant hormone and mutagenized this line. The research question is "what transporters or receptors are involved in the hormone signaling transduction or perception processes?". Students form research hypotheses based on the research model, design experiments, perform experiments, collect and analyze data, make scientific arguments, and share their findings with the learning community. Specifically, the students culture the mutagenized plant population and select the desired mutant phenotypes, followed by genotyping the mutants and characterizing the mutants by basic biochemical approaches. Mathematics is also integrated into the course design. As the students studied the relevant genetic, molecular and biochemical concepts during this CURE, they use the core idea of information flow and data they generate in the lab to make claims about their mutant plants and support these claims with evidence and reasoning.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Cell Biology, Molecular Biology
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Using mathematics and computational thinking, Planning and carrying out investigations, Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering), Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Wet Lab/Bench Research, Basic Research
State: Michigan
Target Audience: Introductory
CURE Duration: A full term
CUREnet Exemplary Collection This CURE has been identified as exemplary based on CUREnet's review criteria.
See the activity page for details.

Molecular Parasitology
Swati Agrawal, University of Mary Washington
In Spring 2021, we piloted a mini-CURE where student groups from University of Mary Washington and Georgia State University collaboratively completed research projects as part of a research-intensive course on Molecular Parasitology. The benefits of this approach were immediately obvious as students interacted across institutions, learned from each other's disciplinary expertise while informing their own research with data collected by their collaborators.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Cell Biology, Molecular Biology
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Planning and carrying out investigations, Developing and using models, Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Wet Lab/Bench Research, Basic Research, Applied Research
State: Virginia
Target Audience: Major, Upper Division
CURE Duration: A full term
CUREnet Exemplary Collection This CURE has been identified as exemplary based on CUREnet's review criteria.
See the activity page for details.

MCC: Malate Dehydrogenase CUREs Community
Ellis Bell, University of San Diego
The Malate Dehydrogenase CUREs Community (MCC) project is designed to facilitate the adoption of effective, protein‐centric, Course Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) into teaching labs at a wide variety of undergraduate serving institutions. (Primarily Undergraduate Institutions, Research Intensive Universities and Community Colleges) MCC coordinates and conducts pedagogical research into two major features of CUREs:1) their duration (whole semester versus 5‐6 week modules incorporated into a lab class), and 2) the impact of scientific collaboration between institutions (a key aspect of much modern research). Using validated assessment tools we seek to establish their effects on student confidence, persistence in STEM, and ability to design research experiments and interprete data. To facilitate faculty adoption of CURE approaches the project provides a number of resources. These focus on a variety of research areas related to Malate Dehydrogenase including mechanisms of catalysis and regulation, adaptation and evolution, cofactor specificity, folding and stability and interactions in metabolons. Resources include biologics, experimental protocols and assessment tools. The project also coordinates interactions between courses at different institutions to allow incorporation of scientific collaboration into CUREs. These collaborations also facilitate the use of more sophisticated experimental approaches and broaden the experimental scope of the CUREs.

Discipline: Chemistry:Biochemistry, Life Sciences:Cell Biology, Life Sciences, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Evolution
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering), Using mathematics and computational thinking, Planning and carrying out investigations, Developing and using models, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Wet Lab/Bench Research, Informatics/Computational Research, Basic Research
Target Audience: Upper Division, Introductory, Non-major, Major
CURE Duration: A full term, A few class periods, Half a term

A Bioinformatic Look at Iron Uptake in Insects
Emily Ragan, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Students will perform BLAST searches, make phylogenetic trees, identify putative orthologs, and investigate secondary structure elements of 5' untranslated regions (UTRs). The sequences used will be related to iron uptake in insects.

Discipline: Chemistry:Biochemistry, Life Sciences:Molecular Biology
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data
Nature of Research: Informatics/Computational Research
State: Colorado
Target Audience: Upper Division, Major
CURE Duration: Half a term
CUREnet Exemplary Collection This CURE has been identified as exemplary based on CUREnet's review criteria.
See the activity page for details.

Characterizing the Aging Process Using Caenorhabditis elegans and Reverse Genetics
Joslyn Mills, Brown University
Using gene silencing (RNAi) in the nemotode C. elegans, students will identify genetic modifiers of proteins with roles in aging by reverse genetics. Specifically, students will analyze the effect of knocking down genes on the level of aging-related proteins tagged with fluorophores (GFP, RFP, etc.). Each group of students will use function-specific RNAi libraries (transcription factors, kinases, etc) already established in our lab. Furthermore, students will evaluate the effect of genetic modifiers on proteostasis and lifespan. In addition to becoming familiar with C. elegans work and appreciating the use of model organisms, the students will master microscopy, genetic crosses, gene silencing, and molecular and biochemical readout assays such as qPCR and immunoblotting.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology
Core Competencies: Planning and carrying out investigations, Analyzing and interpreting data, Developing and using models, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Basic Research, Wet Lab/Bench Research
State: Rhode Island
Target Audience: Upper Division, Introductory, Major
CURE Duration: A full term
CUREnet Exemplary Collection This CURE has been identified as exemplary based on CUREnet's review criteria.
See the activity page for details.

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: Basic Research, Wet Lab/Bench Research
State: Michigan
Target Audience: Upper Division, Major
CURE Duration: A few class periods
CUREnet Exemplary Collection This CURE has been identified as exemplary based on CUREnet's review criteria.
See the activity page for details.

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:Sustainability, Environmental Science, Engineering, Chemistry:Organic Chemistry, Environmental Science:Energy, Chemistry:Analytical Chemistry
Core Competencies: Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering), Planning and carrying out investigations
Nature of Research: Applied Research
State: Alabama
CUREnet Exemplary Collection This CURE has been identified as exemplary based on CUREnet's review criteria.
See the activity page for details.

Exploring eukaryotic protein structure and post-translational modifications.
Erica Jacobs, St. John's University-New York
This CURE will provide opportunity for students to think and act as researchers by using computational, biochemical, and bioanalytical techniques to examine tick antigen proteins. The CURE is designed as a lab for upper-level students who are taking or have taken a one-semester introductory biochemistry course, but two semesters would be even better. It could also be adapted for cell/molecular biology or (bio) analytical chemistry instrumentational analysis labs. It has been taught for classes ranging from 12-24 students. Ticks are notorious vectors of viral, protozoan, and bacterial diseases, including Lyme disease. While an anti-vector vaccine capable of protecting people from diseases transmitted by a particular tick species is an alluring goal, only one such anti-tick vaccine is currently available. This vaccine targets Bm86, a protein from the midgut of Rhipicephalus microplus, a cattle tick. Not only does the vaccine limit parasitism of the cattle by ticks, data suggests that it can also prevent transmission of tick-borne diseases including bovine anaplasmosis and babesiosis. However, similar vaccination approaches have not succeeded thus far against ticks that transmit diseases to humans, and little is known about the antibody response to the antigen, or about the protein itself. Since the protein's structure and function are unknown, the research goal of this CURE is to purify Bm86 using an insect cell/baculovirus expression system and characterize it, including domain structure and post-translational modifications (glycosylation sites). There are homologs to Bm86 in every sequenced tick species examined, and future CUREs will characterize some of the homologs including those in Ixodes scapularis, the tick that is mainly responsible for transmitting Lyme in the eastern US, and Haemaphysalis longicornis, the Asian longhorned tick, a newly-discovered invasive species in the area that also has significant disease-transmitting potential. By understanding the structure and post-translational modifications of this protein, we hope to gain a better understanding of how to make effective anti-tick vaccines, including those for humans, that may prevent transmission of Lyme disease. Importantly, the basic parameters of this CURE can be used to examine other proteins besides tick antigens. For example, during the pandemic, the CURE pivoted from the tick antigen to the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein, which was also expressed in an insect cell system. Instead of characterizing glycosylation sites, we characterized phosphorylation sites. It's therefore possible to use this same framework for many different eukaryotic proteins that may be of research interest.

Discipline: Chemistry:Biochemistry, Life Sciences:Molecular Biology, Chemistry:Analytical Chemistry
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Planning and carrying out investigations
Target Audience: Major
CURE Duration: A full term
CUREnet Exemplary Collection This CURE has been identified as exemplary based on CUREnet's review criteria.
See the activity page for details.

Analysis of the effects of protein-protein interactions on signaling through a team-based undergraduate biochemistry laboratory course
Daniela Fera, Swarthmore College
We developed a research-based laboratory course centered on a biological problem involving the B-Raf kinase, specifically the mutant that is commonly found in melanomas. One of the major goals of the project for the students is to generate mutants to determine whether a particular region of the B-Raf protein is critical for the interaction with MEK kinase, a downstream target in the pathway. Students analyze the published B-Raf-MEK crystal structure and choose a mutation to generate in B-Raf or MEK that might alter the dissociation constant (KD) of the complex. They design primers, perform PCR to generate their desired mutant, transform and purify the resulting DNA, express the DNA in E. coli, and purify the protein, all before characterizing it. Characterizing the mutant proteins consist of performing basic pull-downs, western blots, spectroscopic absorbance assays, and biolayer interferometry for binding kinetics. Students also engage in group meeting presentations and journal clubs in which they discuss their work and related primary literature, respectively. Group meeting and journal club discussions provide a forum for students to come up with new ideas to analyze their results, or for future work. Students summarize key results in a final presentation and paper, and develop a research proposal based on their work. Data that students obtain from their mutants provide evidence of the importance of a binding region for B-Raf-MEK complex formation, as well as downstream phosphorylation events. Such data will inform future drug discovery programs, as well as form the foundation for students' work in the course the following year. Because working with mutants can result in unpredictable data and results, students sometimes have to adjust their protocols and repeat experiments. Thus, the CURE format of this course also gives students an opportunity to learn to troubleshoot when things do not work as expected, which helps them learn resiliency in science.

Discipline: Chemistry:Biochemistry, Chemistry
Core Competencies: Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering), Analyzing and interpreting data, Planning and carrying out investigations, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Wet Lab/Bench Research, Basic Research, Informatics/Computational Research
State: Pennsylvania
Target Audience: Major, Upper Division, Non-major
CURE Duration: A full term, Multiple terms
CUREnet Exemplary Collection This CURE has been identified as exemplary based on CUREnet's review criteria.
See the activity page for details.