The Office of Research and Sponsored Program (ORSP) has compiled a list of upcoming research opportunities available to undergraduate students. If you are interested in one of the opportunities, please contact the faculty member listed. For further information about undergraduate research, please contact the ORSP.

Pharmaceuticals and contaminants in freshwater systems

Brief Summery of project: Students would be working with Daphnia magna, a small crustacean, to conduct toxicity experiments including 48-hour mortality, 21 day reproductive essays, and behavioral changes. The project is looking for two students who are a sophomore level or higher with a science major.

Contact Information: If interested, contact Sarah Lovern | Sarah.Lovern@cuw.edu

Exploring the casual relationship between posture training and chronic headache in adults

Brief Summery of project: There is current consensus in the field of headache research that there is a correlation between posture and the occurrence of tension-type headaches. However, the cause of headaches is multi-factorial, and the relationship between posture and headache has not been adequately described in terms of a causal relationship. The purpose of this study is to determined if current research provides any evidence for a causal relationship between changes in posture and changes in headache incidence or severity. The fall project is to conduct a systematic review, and spring project is to investigate a posture training intervention. The project is looking for two students, preferably pre-health professions students with at least one anatomy or physiology course successfully completed. Evidence of excellence in writing also preferred.

Contact Information: If interested, contact Susan Wilbanks | Susan.Wilbanks@cuw.edu

Exercise-Induced Hypoalgesia following an Acute Bout of Retrowalking: A Pilot Study in Healthy Young Adults

Brief summary of the project: Dr. Stacy Stolzman is an Associate Professor and Pediatric Physical Therapist in Doctorate Physical Therapy (DPT) Program within the School of Health Professions. She is collaborating with Dr. Kathy Lemley, another DPT faculty. Dr. Stolzman’s research interests include how exercise can impact the human body especially in the realm of individuals with chronic diseases such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Her current project is investigating how exercise can relieve pain by walking backwards on a treadmill. This preliminary data will be utilized for future projects in patients with neuromuscular diseases and orthopedic conditions. Undergraduate students will assist with data collection.

Contact Information: If interested, contact Stacy Stolzman (Stacy.Stolzman@cuw.edu).

Qualifications of a Student: The project is looking for two to three students. No specific skills are required though Exercise Physiology, PrePhysical Therapy, and Rehab Science undergraduates are highly encouraged to apply.

Quantifying behavior and morphology of periodic cicadas

Brief Summery of project: 17 year cicadas are well known for making a lot of noise every 17 years, but they also exhibit a number of different behaviors of interest. During the fall semester Dr. Madinger will have undergraduate researchers examine the morphological and geographical variation in cicadas that emerged during the 2021 cicada emergence. We will compare these patterns with previously collected data about each cicada's anti-predator response in a study conducted over the summer. Students will measure morphological traits of the cicadas to see what variation in the cicada population exists and collect data on the species, sex, and body condition of samples to make graphs of the data for poster presentations.

Contact Information: If interested, contact Dr. Madinger | Hilary.Madinger@cuw.edu

Qualifications of a Student: The project is looking for two students who are Biology or Environment majors/minors.

Determining Anti-Cancer properties of Compounds Derived from Natural Products on Human Cancer Cells

Brief Summery of project: Dr. Loppnow and Dr. Van Hart’s lab is focused on compounds derived from naturally occurring products and extracts to determine anti-tumor effects on in vitro cancer cell lines. Using cell lines with various origins such as breast, prostate, lung, cervical, and colon, we investigate the efficacy of naturally derived extracts alone or synergistically with other natural products on cell proliferation, senescence, and apoptosis, in vitro. The typical students in our lab are trained in techniques of sterile tissue culture and assays that determine growth rates and proliferation of cancer cells. Students complete cell culture training over the course of 2 semesters (1 credit/semester), and continue research projects as a team each semester thereafter for Bio 499 elective credits toward the BioMed major.

Contact Information: If interested, contact Dr. Loppnow or Dr Van Hart | Jessica.Loppnow@cuw.edu or Rochelle.VanHart@cuw.edu

Qualifications of a Student: The project is looking for one to four BioMed or Biology students (including Pre-Med, Pre-Pharm) that have completed two semesters Bio 141/142 or Bio 151/152 with at least a B. Upper-level students help with mentoring and training new students, and research is presented as posters in regional research conferences.

Search of new antibiotics and/or anticancer agents from Streptomyces endophytes

Brief Summery of project: The focus of Dr. Castillo and Dr. Springer’s research involves endophyte microorganisms. Endophytes (Endo- “within”; -phyte “plant”) are bacteria and fungi that live and grow within plants without harming them. The majority of Dr. Castillo and Dr. Springer’s isolates are endophytic Streptomyces. Streptomyces are gram-positive bacteria that are known to produce chemicals with antibiotic and anti-cancer capabilities, i.e. Streptomycin produced by S. griseus. Many of the species that we are studying are unknown, which is very exciting and shows promise for discovering new therapeutic drugs.

Contact Information: If interested, contact Dr. Castillo or Dr. Springer | Uvidelio.Castillo@cuw.edu or Tzvia.Springer@cuw.edu

Rational Discovery & Design of Isoform-Selective HDAC3 Inhibitors for Reversal of HIV Latency

Brief Summery of project: The discovery of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) has made it possible for HIV infected patients to live prolonged and relatively healthy lives and has given researchers hope for fighting the disease. However, complete eradication of HIV/AIDS remains a scientific challenge. The major barrier to successfully eradicating HIV/AIDS is the presence of long-lasting latently infected memory latent/resting CD4+ T-cells that harbor integrated HIV-1 DNA in its genome and persists in the presence of antiretroviral therapy (ART). One approach for eliminating HIV latent reservoirs is the “shock and kill” method by latency-reversing agents (LRAs). Histone deacetylase inhibitors are among the most prominent LRAs. Class I HDAC 3 activity is essential for restricting the HIV-latent integrated provirus. Although there are class I HDAC inhibitors currently on the market most are not isoform-selective resulting in cardiotoxicity concerns and reduced potency as LRAs. Hence, not only is there is an unmet need for HIV cure, but there is also a need to identify isoformselective Class I HDAC 3 inhibitors that can be included in a combinatorial therapeutic latency eradication strategy. To achieve our goal, we utilize computer-guided approaches (i.e. computational chemistry approaches) to identify and optimize small molecule inhibitors of HDAC3.

Brief summary of what is expected of student: Students on this research project are conducting assay design and developing skills which involves cell culture, cell transfection, various biological screening methods, protein expression, purification, and characterization. Students are also learning the in-demand skill of computer-aided drug discovery (CADD). One tool that is used in my lab is Schrodinger-Drug Discovery Suites, that is widely used in academia, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and government agencies. Not only do students participate in bench and CADD research, but they get the opportunity to present their work to the scientific community and participate in manuscript writing.

Qualifications of a Student: Two students are needed for this project and the only perquisite is the willingness to want to learn and a passion for scientific research.

Contact Information: If interested, contact Terry-Elinor Reid | Terry-Elinor.Reid@cuw.edu