Posted on November 29, 2016: Dr. Craig Barrett is looking for highly motivated undergraduates interested in natural history to participate in laboratory research on the evolutionary genetics of plants. The Barrett lab focuses on using DNA sequences and other information to study how certain plant species are related, how they vary, and how their genomes have evolved. In particular, the lab’s focus is on leafless orchids that have evolved to become parasites on soil fungi (called mycoheterotrophs), and thus no longer use solar energy for photosynthesis. The lab also studies evolution of monocot angiosperms, including several economically and ecologically important species of grasses, palms, gingers, and relatives.
Students will gain significant hands-on experience, including: DNA and RNA extraction from plant tissues, polymerase chain reaction, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, and data analysis. Meanwhile, students will contribute to research in the form of poster presentations and potentially the writing of theses and scientific papers for publication.
Under the guidance of Dr. Barrett, students will develop independent projects and will enroll in Biol 386 for independent study (minimum 2 cr). Students interested in completing an honors thesis are particularly encouraged to apply.
Requirements: Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.20. Some lab research experience and familiarity with computer software is preferred. Experience and/or interest in computer coding/scripting and bioinformatics are also preferred (for example: UNIX, R, Python, Perl). Students should have a strong background in genetics, evolution, or ecology, and have a serious interest in plant evolutionary biology.
Dr. Barrett’s faculty web page: http://biology.wvu.edu/faculty-and-staff/faculty/craig-barrett and slide.
Contact information: Dr. Craig Barrett (firstname.lastname@example.org), Department of Biology, 5218 Life Sciences Building.
Posted on November 4, 2016: Dr. George Spirou, Co-Director, Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, is seeking students for his Connectomics: 3D Mapping of Neural Circuits in the Mammalian Brain (HONR 297) class. The class can be taken for 1 or 2 credit hours (2 credit hours entails greater lab participation). In this class, students will explore and be a part of the new field of mapping neural circuitry in the brain, called connectomics. Students will work with unique electron microscopy image volumes, and learn to recognize cellular and subcellular structures as they segment neurons, glia and vascular networks in the images. These images offer many opportunities for students to design honors research projects, and in future semesters lead teams of other students to complete publishable projects. Along the way students will experience the wave of big data neuroscience, and learn the technologies that are shaping our modern understanding of brain structure through development and into maturity. Students will explore the structures they segment using 3D immersive virtual reality. Students in physical sciences, mathematics or engineering can identify projects to analyze the structures through classification, graph theoretical procedures and biophysical modeling, to name a few examples. Be amazed at how the brain constructs its initial wiring diagram following its genetic program, and how the connectome can change with learning and experience. We are seeking to enroll 100 students, whose combined work in a single semester will change our understanding of nervous system circuits and computation. You do not need to be an Honors student to enroll, but will need to speak with the course instructor prior to enrolling (an override, may be needed).
For insight into this new field, view the Ted Talk at: http://www.ted.com/talks/sebastian_seung.html
Click here for a course flyer. Questions? Contact Dr. George Spirou (email@example.com)
Posted on October 14, 2016: Dr. Melissa Olfert, Human Nutrition & Foods, is seeking highly motivated undergraduate students to work on various multidisciplinary research projects. Students have the opportunity to work beside graduate students in the Lifestyle Intervention Research Lab (LIRL) gaining hand-on experience in behavioral intervention work. The LIRL specializes in the prevention of chronic diseases across the lifespan through lifestyle behavioral interventions to reduce incident rates of conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in at-risk populations, particularly those of health disparate regions. Our lab uses a wide variety of tools, including novel nutritional approaches, physical activity, sleep management, tobacco cessation and mindful stress reduction to study and modify multi-generational health behaviors.
Researcher responsibilities will vary depending on the project but often include data collection, data entry, social media presence, environmental audits, physical assessments on research subjects, literature reviews, and more. Work will be monitored by gradated students of the LIRL who provide assistance and guidance in the research process.
Qualifications - Students from various majors are encouraged to apply (minimum GPA 2.5). Students are expected to commit to minimum of one semester, but highly prefer one year or longer. Working hours and training schedule are flexible and will be determined depending on the projects and students’ schedules.
Contact Information – Please contact Dr. Melissa Olfert’s doctoral student Rebecca Hagedorn at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting.