CURE Examples


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Encouraging Student Independence with Protein Engineering
Eric Lazear, North Carolina State University
Students will be introduced to the techniques and concepts of protein engineering, including DNA cloning, mammalian cell culture, forward genetic screens, and protein expression and purification. Students will design and carry out their own strategy to develop an engineered protein.

Discipline: Life Sciences
Core Competencies: Planning and carrying out investigations, Analyzing and interpreting data, Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Applied Research
State: North Carolina
Target Audience: Upper Division
CURE Duration: Half a term

TUMORFLI – Teaching Using Mentored, Original Research For Life sciences Impact
Christopher Abdullah, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The research underlying many cancer therapeutics has been conducted in model organisms. Chemical screens in model organisms are useful for identifying targets at much lower costs than mouse or human trials. However, these screens generate many more compound "hits" than any research lab can feasibly test. The first iterations of this CURE intend to take compounds and have students test the effects on viability on the larvae of Drosophila cancer models. Students will also work to identify the top potential protein targets of each of the compounds in a means to explain what effects the students' observations. Students will use oral and poster presentations to convey their findings to fellow students. Long-term goals of this CURE include modifying the cure to look at using genetic inhibition of targets of one compound to further identify what genes may be involved.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Genetics, Statistics, Life Sciences, Health Sciences
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering), Planning and carrying out investigations, Using mathematics and computational thinking
Nature of Research: Applied Research, Wet Lab/Bench Research
CURE Duration: A full term

Characterizing and comparing environmental microbial communities
Nikolas Stasulli, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Discipline: Life Sciences, Microbiology
Target Audience: Major

Histological Analysis of Microglia in the Mouse Brain
Monica Gaudier-Diaz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Histological Analysis of Microglia in the Mouse Brain CURE is an opportunity for undergraduate students to engage in scientific research. Prior to the course start date, the instructor will identify and establish collaborations with research laboratories that are currently overlooking the phenomenon of neuroinflammation. Through collaboration, the course instructor will have access to mouse brains from different experiment, which will be sectioned and prepared for immunostaining. For the first portion of the CURE, students will search for primary literature and develop an informed hypothesis concerning the experimental condition(s) and how it may alter microglia morphology. Then, for the practical portion of the CURE, students will stain brain slices for Iba-1, take pictures in a fluorescent microscope (if possible) and trace microglia using image j. For the microglia tracing and analysis, an image per sample (ideally N=24, 12 controls and 12 experimental conditions) will be accessible to all students, and they will be expected to trace one microglia cell per sample. Then, working in pairs, students will calculate average cell body area and extension of the processes. With these numbers, students will use excel to run statistical analysis (t-tests) and create graph representations of their findings. For the final project, students will write a report to share with the primary research group, describing the hypothesis, methods and conclusions.

Core Competencies: Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Analyzing and interpreting data
Nature of Research: Basic Research
Target Audience: Upper Division
CURE Duration: A few class periods

Antibiotics for a CURE
Maria Messner, Lenoir Community College
One of the biggest threat in hospitals is the rising cases of people who harbor antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. Therefore, it is critical to find and characterize novel antibiotics to combat the resistant strains. Most of the antibiotics used in healthcare settings come from anti-biotic producing bacteria and fungi found in the soil. The goal of this CURE will be to isolate antibiotic-producing bacteria and fungi from the soil in the local area, and to determine the chemistry of the antibiotics. An extension of the project will be to determine how the presence of antibiotic-producing microbes affect other organisms resident in the soil, as it is unclear as to why microbes use energy to produce antibiotic factors.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Microbiology

Investigating the genetic diversity of Myrica cerifera, a traditional medicine of American Indians of the Southeast.
Conner Sandefur, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
In order to provide all UNCP Biology majors with a authentic research experience, we are implementing a CURE in our genetics lab course (a one credit course required of all Biology majors, taken concurrently with a three credit lecture section). This CURE will investigate phenotypic and genotypic intraspecies diversity of Nicotania tabacam originating from North Carolina and Oklahoma.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Genetics
Core Competencies: Planning and carrying out investigations, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), Analyzing and interpreting data
Nature of Research: Wet Lab/Bench Research
State: North Carolina
Target Audience: Upper Division, Introductory, Major
CURE Duration: A full term

Exploring Topics & Issues Related to Criminal Justice
Renee Lamphere, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
The purpose of this CURE is to allow students to explore and research a topic or issue of interest to them in the criminal justice system. Students will work in small groups to research a topic or issue related to CRJ. They will learn to utilize the electronic resources offered by the UNCP library, and must submit an annotated bibliography with a minimum of 10 sources, 8 of which must come from the UNCP library website and must be current, peer reviewed journal articles. Students will then take the information they found, synthesize it looking for the most important information, and create a research poster with their relevant findings. Students will then present these posters during an open poster session, which will be attended by the course professor, classmates, other criminal justice students, and other criminal justice faculty. Students will be given the opportunity to present their posters at campus and regional conferences.

Discipline: Social Sciences:Sociology
Nature of Research: Basic Research
State: North Carolina
Target Audience: Introductory, Major
CURE Duration: A full term

DNA Barcoding
Heather Aloor, Durham Technical Community College; kathy zarilla, Durham Technical Community College
Using a DNA barcoding protocol from the DNA Learning Center, Cold Spring Harbor, students will be exposed to authentic research in an introductory biology class. Students will experience a multi-step, several week project requiring planning, implementation and documentation similar to that of a molecular biology research lab. Students will be expected to explain their project results both orally and in writing. Students will also be able to relate the research activity to the lecture content of the course.

Discipline: Life Sciences:Ecology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Evolution
Core Competencies: Analyzing and interpreting data, Using mathematics and computational thinking, Planning and carrying out investigations, Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
Nature of Research: Basic Research, Informatics/Computational Research, Wet Lab/Bench Research
State: North Carolina
Target Audience: Major, Introductory, Non-major
CURE Duration: A few class periods

Drosophila Models of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Ashlyn Spring, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

College Success Undergraduate Research Experience
Andrea Fernandez, North Carolina A & T State University
The term student success has increasingly permeated the higher education landscape over the past several years. Higher education professionals define student success in various ways; however, the student's experience should always be at the nucleus of the definition. As with any institution, students entering North Carolina A&T State University experience varying levels of stress anxiety. Some of these students are successful and some students are not. Our goal is to develop an understanding of who students at NC A&T define success and what factors contributes to or hinders their success.