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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

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

Antibiotic Drug Discovery: Identifying Novel Soil Microbes to Combat Antibiotic Resistance
Toni-Marie Achilli, Brown University
This project is part of the Tiny Earth Network, which is an organization that "student sources" the discovery of new antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance - the ability for bacteria to mutate and evolve, and thus cause antibiotics to fail - is a major global health threat. Pharmaceutical companies are less likely to fund research and development of new antibiotics due to their relative low profitability. As bacteria become more resistant to the antibiotics we use today, it is critical that we have a pipeline of novel antibiotics to combat these pathogens. The main focus of this course will be for students to attempt to discover new antibiotics in soil bacteria that can ultimately be used to treat infectious disease. Most antibiotics used today are metabolites produced by soil bacteria and fungi, used as a defense mechanism to promote their own survival. It is estimated that over 10 billion bacterial cells can inhabit a single gram of soil, and the majority of them are not characterized. Students will identify bacterial isolates from soil samples and assess each isolates potential to produce antibiotics.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Microbiology, Life Sciences, Chemistry
State: Rhode Island
CURE Duration: A full term

From Sensitive to Resistant: Assessing Responses of Bacteria to Antimicrobial Drugs
Tiffany Randall, John Tyler Community College
Students will work in groups to determine the responses of an assigned bacterium to an antibiotic that acts as an inhibitor of cell wall synthesis. Results from sensitivity testing will be compared to other student groups to reveal a range of responses to antibiotics. Sensitive strains of bacterial can be selected for subsequent study. Such strains will be transformed with plasmids conferring antibiotic resistance. Resulting strains will be re-assessed in the original assay to determine responses to varying concentrations of antibiotic.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Evolution, Genetics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Health Sciences
Core Competencies: Planning and carrying out investigations, Analyzing and interpreting data, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Applied Research
State: Virginia
Target Audience: Introductory, Non-major
CURE Duration: A few class periods

EVALUATING THE IMPORTANCE OF ESSENTIAL LIPID METABOLISM GENES ON NEMATODE DEVELOPMENT USING CRISPR: A MODEL FOR PARASITIC NEMATODES
Sheritta Fagbodun, Tuskegee University

Discipline: Life Sciences:Molecular Biology, Life Sciences
Nature of Research: Informatics/Computational Research
CURE Duration: A few class periods

Protein Characterization and Expression Patterns in Mouse Models of SLE (lupus)
Julie Mach, Concordia College at Moorhead
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE, or lupus) is a disease with many symptoms that presents differently in different persons. There is a lack of understanding of the causes and origins of the disease. This CURE is a full semester research project which will focus on the techniques to characterize, compare, and contrast proteins from wild type and SLE mouse models. By investigating the expression patterns or structure and function of proteins from a mouse model of SLE, students are able to contribute to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of this disease.

Discipline: Chemistry, Biochemistry
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering), Planning and carrying out investigations, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Basic Research
State: Minnesota
Target Audience: Upper Division, Major
CURE Duration: A full term

Take It Outside: Exploring the Health Benefits of Nature Contact
Ann S. Evans, Virginia Peninsula Community College

Discipline: Social Sciences:Psychology, Life Sciences:Anatomy and Physiology, Health Sciences
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Planning and carrying out investigations
Nature of Research: Basic Research
State: Virginia
Target Audience: Major, Introductory, Non-major
CURE Duration: A full term

Histology CURE
Adriana Visbal, University of Houston-Downtown
Unlike a traditional descriptive histology laboratory course, where students look at a variety of tissue sections under the microscope and memorize key structures, this CURE will offer students the opportunity engage with histology in an applied manner as part of real-world and relevant problem. Instead of learning about histology, they will use histology to answer important questions. As part of this CURE, students will design and implement a study to test and validate safer and more economical published alternatives to the standard classical histological staining method utilized in most clinical laboratories on mammary gland and breast tissue. They will then compare and contrast downstream applications (like immunohistochemistry for breast cancer biomarkers) following safer validated staining protocols vs. the standard staining protocol. Currently, the histology field is reluctant to switch to safer staining methods because downstream applications have not been validated. The results of this CURE will be of interest to the general histology field and to biomedical researchers utilizing histological stains in their work.

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

The effect of metabolic perturbators on embryonic development.
Emmanuel Tadjuidje, Alabama State University

Discipline: Chemistry:Biochemistry, Life Sciences:Molecular Biology, Zoology, Cell Biology, Anatomy and Physiology
State: Alabama


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