CURE Examples

Examples submitted by the Hampton Institute participants.


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DNA cloning and protein analysis of animal-heme peroxidase within collagen IV of the extracellular matrix
Isi Ero-Tolliver, Hampton University
This CURE is to expose undergraduate students to the process of DNA cloning to identify the critical amino acids of the animal-heme peroxidase,peroxidasin, responsible for catalyzing sulfilimine bond formation within collagen IV of the basement membrane. Students will bioengineer a variety of mutants through primer design and polymerase chain reactions that contain point mutations within the immunoglobulin domain of the peroxidasin.

Discipline: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Chemistry:Biochemistry
Core Competencies: Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering), Analyzing and interpreting data, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Planning and carrying out investigations
Nature of Research: Basic Research, Wet Lab/Bench Research
State: Virginia
Target Audience: Major, Upper Division, Introductory
CURE Duration: Multiple terms, A full term

From an Inquiry-Guided Project to a CURE in General Biology: Testing Repellent Effects of Essential Oils and a Parasitoid Wasp Against Callosobruchus maculatus.
Joseph Felts, Davidson-Davie Community College

Discipline: Life Sciences, Ecology, Zoology
Core Competencies: Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Analyzing and interpreting data, Planning and carrying out investigations
State: North Carolina
Target Audience: Introductory
CURE Duration: Half a term

Worms Rule- Investigating variation in isoform function
Anna Allen, Howard University
Integrating research into undergraduate science courses has been a long-term goal of many institutions. Research-based laboratory courses provide students with authentic research experiences while also helping them develop their analytical thinking and problem solving skills. Through these type of courses, students begin to understand and apply many fundamental concepts in biology while also contributing to the scientific field. To provide a research experience consisting of many common laboratory skills and the current buzz technique of CRISPR/Cas9 endogenous genome editing, we designed a one-semester research experience for undergraduates. By the end of a single semester, students enrolled in our upper level biology elective course successfully edited the genome of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). Throughout this course, students were exposed to molecular biology techniques (PCR, gel electrophoresis), imaging techniques (confocal microscopy), and CRISPR/Cas9 concept and techniques in C. elegans. Ultimately, the goal of this course was to provide students with a meaningful undergraduate research experience while generating reagents (namely C. elegans strains) that assist the instructor's personal research objectives.

Electrophysiology for the Cell Biology Course
Ganesan Kamatchi, Norfolk State University
CURE can be developed to understand the physiology of voltage-gated ion channels. In this regard I will use voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCC) as a tool since I have extensive experience on VGCCs. In my laboratory VGCCs are studied by expressing their cDNA in Xenopus oocytes. The cDNA is injected into the oocytes and the oocytes incubated for a week (for protein expression) and the calcium current is recorded using two-electrode voltage-clamp. Subsequently, the oocytes will be exposed to drugs, etc., and the modulation in the expressed currents studied.

The affect of different bioactive compounds or phytochemicals from plant extracts on the proliferation of breast cancer cell lines
Herman Fennell, Hampton University
Approximately 25% of today's prescription drugs come from plant extracts, but only about 15% of the known plant species have been screened for medicinal purposes. There are many plants that have yet to be screened for their medicinal benefits. Students will chose plants, with known health benefits, but can extracts from these plants decrease the proliferation, decrease reactive oxygen species or even inhibit the metastasis of cancer cells. There are many plants such as ginseng, saw palmetto and even onions and garlic which contain anti-carcinogenic properties. Proposed Project: After an extensive literature review, students will plan and carry out experiments on understanding which plant extracts exhibit anti-carcinogenic properties of different cancer cell lines.

Modeling Insect-Microbe Interactions (MIMI)
ZAKEE SABREE, Ohio State University-Main Campus
Gut microbes are increasingly being linked to beneficial host outcomes, yet we know little about how specific bacterial species contribute to these outcomes. Gut microbial communities are often comprised of tens-to-hundreds of bacterial species which makes assigning specific functions difficult. Insects like the American cockroach are ideal for modeling how gut bacteria benefit their hosts because they require them for normal gut development. Furthermore, the American cockroach can feed on a wide range of diets, including a primarily plant-based diet, and thus require gut bacteria to help them to digest plant cellulose, a major constituent of plant tissues. We have developed a germ-free American cockroach system that allows us to inoculate these specially-prepared insects with bacteria of our choice and detect a wide range of host developmental and physiological outcomes. Given that there are hundreds of culturable bacterial species that are known to inhabit the American cockroach gut, we can assay the impacts of these bacteria on this insect as a course-based undergraduate research experience. We will use several qualitative and quantitative measures of insect development post-inoculation to assay the effect of the bacteria. Students groups will be assigned unknown bacterial species, with replication across at least 3 groups to provide minimal statistical power. Additionally, students will identify their bacterial species using molecular approaches and assay them for their ability to degrade plant carbohydrates (cellulose and pectin) and antibiotic resistance (which is a measure of possible antibiotic production). Finally, by performing these experiments students will learn about animal, including insect and microbial, physiology and symbioses, and contribute novel data regarding the impact of gut bacteria on host development and growth.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Evolution, Ecology
Core Competencies: Planning and carrying out investigations, Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering), Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Developing and using models, Analyzing and interpreting data
Nature of Research: Applied Research, Basic Research
State: Ohio
Target Audience: Major
CURE Duration: A full term

Research in Pathogen Biology: Laboratory and Analysis
David Gauthier, Old Dominion University

Discipline: Life Sciences:Ecology, Evolution, Genetics, Microbiology, Zoology, Molecular Biology
Core Competencies: Planning and carrying out investigations, Using mathematics and computational thinking, 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: Wet Lab/Bench Research, Basic Research, Field Research, Informatics/Computational Research
State: Virginia
Target Audience: Upper Division, Major
CURE Duration: Multiple terms

Investigations in Toxicology
Celia Dodd, Fort Valley State University

Climatic impacts on vegetative and reproductive growth on Arabidopsis thaliana
Peter Blum, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Ecosystems directly impact the evolutionary trajectories of the organisms which inhabit them. Arabidopsis thaliana is a fast-growing perennial plant that has been extensively studied for genetics and occupies a wide range of habitats in America and Eurasia. The diversity of environments that A. thaliana inhabits makes it an ideas organism to investigate evolutionary questions, such as how does the environment select for certain genotypes and how does that influence fecundity. In this multi-week laboratory students will conduct a laboratory experiment controlling the environment of A. thaliana and will measure differences in resource allocation in vegetative and reproductive growth.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Ecology, Evolution
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Planning and carrying out investigations
Nature of Research: Basic Research
Target Audience: Major