Student Research Opportunities in Biology

Below you will find a listing of all available research opportunities in Biology. Please use the contact information listed in each posting for further info regarding the research opportunities.

Tamarah Adair

Advanced Microbial Genomics

I have opportunities for students interested in bacteriophage or ciliate genomics.

Recommended Pre-requisites: Preferred BIO 1405/1406 or CILI-CURE 1105/1106
Start Date: Fall 2018
Course Credit: Yes
Semesters Available: Spring
Contact Information:

Jason Pitts

Mosquito Sensory Biology

Our lab investigates the sensory biology of mosquitoes that transmit diseases like Zika, Dengue and Malaria. Of particular interest are the chemical- and temperature-sensing pathways that direct mosquitoes to feed on humans and other animals. We utilize a range of molecular and behavioral techniques to study mosquito responses to environmental stimuli. A long-term objective of our efforts is to develop new methods of mosquito surveillance and control that can be integrated into existing vector management programs.

Recommended Pre-requisites: BIO 1305/1105 and BIO 1306/1106
Positions are highly competitive and require completion of a written application. Preference is given to Biology majors who have been accepted into the Biology of Global Health track.
Course Credit Offered: Yes
Semesters Available: ongoing
Contact Information:

Myeongwoo Lee

UV stress to the nematode C. elegans

We are currently investigating the role of the cell surface receptor expressed in transgenic nematode. The transgenic worms are resistant to UV irradiation and to some anti-cancer chemical treatment. This is a good opportunity for undergraduate students who are interested in gaining research experience.

Recommended Pre-requisites: BIO 1305, BIO 1306, and BIO 2306
Course Credit Offered: Yes
Begin Date: Anytime
Semesters Available: Fall, Spring, & Summer II
Contact Information:

Joe Taube

Biology of Breast Cancer Metastasis

Research in the Taube Lab focuses on the epigenetic regulation of cell identity and it's relationships to tumor formation and metastasis. Current lab projects are exploring histone modifying enzymes, microRNAs, and small molecule inhibitors of these regulations.

Recommended Pre-requisites: Research experiences are highly competitive and preference is given to students considering graduate school. Students should have excellent grades, a mature attitude, a commitment to working non-traditional hours, and good communication skills.
Course Credit Offered: Yes
Begin Date: Anytime
Semesters Available: Fall, Spring, Full Summer
Contact Information:

Jacquelyn Duke

Biological Systems Research BIO 3300 and BIO 3V90

This is a year-long 8-total-credit-hour research course (4 hrs per semester) limited to 12 biology majors, meeting Tues 12:30-4:30 pm and Thurs 12:30-1:45pm. Students need a permit to add this course. You must submit an application, and be selected in order to receive a permit. You must also be committed to being a part of the year-long endeavor. Request an application from Dr. Duke. Overview The first semester will focus on a research project in systems biology. The second semester will involve communicating the results of students' research to a non-majors ecology course, and working with the non-majors to develop and execute a community engagement activity. Overall, the two-semester course will not only engage students in a deeper level of learning through research and teaching activities, but will also facilitate scientific communication and engagement with a peer group of non-science majors. This research opportunity will culminate in: student-developed lectures on an introduction to systems biology, student presentations on their research activities in the form of poster and Power Point presentations, and a manuscript on the research that will be submitted for a publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Students will also engage in scientific advocacy and public engagement through the organized systems biology outreach event. Co-taught by J. Duke and T. Scott.

Recommended Pre-requisites: Freshman Biology and Genetics courses
Course Credit Offered: Yes
Begin Date:Fall 2018 Semester
Semester Available: Fall & Spring
Contact Information:

Dwayne Simmons

Investigations into seneorineural hearing loss and nerve repair

Research interests in the Simmons laboratory concern both developing and aging brain function related to hearing and balance, neurodegeneration, and neuro-immune responses using murine transgenic models. The Simmons laboratory investigates how the regulation of calcium signaling contributes to hearing loss, development and maturation of sensory organs, and peripheral nerve regeneration. Calcium signals can be regulated by specialized protein buffers that bind calcium ions. We have focused our studies on the function of an EF-hand calcium binding protein, oncomodulin (Ocm), which is a member of the parvalbumin gene family. Its distribution is highly restricted, being mostly limited to a subset of sensory hair cells in the mammalian inner ear and elsewhere to a subset of immune cells. Targeted deletion of Ocm in mice leads to an early, progressive hearing loss and to slowed or delayed nerve regeneration.

Recommended Pre-requisites: BIO 1306
Course Credit Offered: Yes
Semester Available: Fall/Spring/Full Summer
Contact Information:

Cheolho Sim

Vector Biology

Diapause, a period of developmental arrest, is an essential survival mechanism in insects for coping with inimical conditions, and it plays a crucial role in the transmission of vector-borne diseases. The objective of this proposal is to understand the molecular mechanisms of diapause in adults of the northern house mosquito, Culex pipiens, the vector of West Nile virus, with the long-term goal of disrupting the mosquito’s biological processes during this vulnerable phase of the life cycle. The Forkhead-box, family O (Foxo) transcription factor has been identified as a key molecular switch that activates the downstream genes which govern diapause traits including extended lifespan, fat accumulation, and enhanced stress resistance in diapausing females of Cx. pipiens. Any alteration in the diapause responses (e.g. diapause prevention, delay in onset or termination, impairment of energy storage or utilization, reduced stress tolerance) could potentially be developed as a tool for disrupting this critical phase of the mosquito life cycle and therefore destroying the mosquito before it can reproduce.

Recommended Pre-requisites:Genetics & Cell Biology
Course Credit Offered: Yes
Semesters Available: Fall & Spring
Contact Information:

Jonathan Miles

C. elegans Microbiome, Metabolism, and Muscle

I currently have four undergraduate researchers working on independent projects. Each has a particular area they are interested in, including the microbiome, metabolism, or muscle growth and development. All are utilizing C. elegans as their model organism. Methods of research include using RNA interference, microbial identification, and additional molecular techniques.

Course Credit Offered: Yes
Recommended Pre-requisites: BIO 1305/BIO 1306 and BIO 2306
Contact Information:

Marty Harvill

Biology, BIO 1406 Laboratory Research Projects

In the laboratory part of the course, students will have an opportunity to work with 2 other students to develop a research project related to Lake Waco Wetlands. Previous Projects can be found at URSA Scholars Week

Recommended Pre-requisites: BIO 1305 C+ or greater
Course Credit Offered:
Begin Date: Spring Semesters
Contact Information:

Joseph White

Plant Biology

Ecosystem response to disturbance including fire and climate change studied through the use of field and laboratory experimentation, remote sensing, and computer modeling. His present research includes carbon from land, water, to the atmosphere for both modern and ancient landscapes.

Recommended Pre-requisites: BIO 1305 and BIO 1306
Course Credit Offered: BIO 3V90
Begin Date: ongoing
Contact Information: Joseph_D_

Christopher Kearney

Mosquitocidal nectar plants and Analysis of mouse gut microbiome

Bioinformatic analysis of microbiome data, plant/mosquito attraction studies (outdoor and indoor), plant genetic engineering and tissue culture. Website:

Recommended Pre-requisites: Genetics (BIO 2306)
Course Credit Offered:
Begin Date: ongoing
Contact Information:

Stephen Trumble

Laboratory of Ecological and Adaptational Physiology.

Whale earplug research, Fish endocrinology, Marine mammal research areas: (1) Foraging ecology and physiology, (2) Fatty acid research, (3) Contaminants, (4) Aging techniques, (5) Epigenetics. For more information visit our website at

Recommended Pre-requisites: BIO 1305/1306
Course Credit Offered:
Begin Date: ongoing
Contact Information: (do not email Dr. Trumble directly)

Bessie Kebaara

Regulation of gene expression

We use yeast to investigate changes in gene expression at the messenger RNA level in response to environmental conditions. For more information, please visit our website at

Recommended Pre-requisites: Genetics (BIO 2306)
Course Credit Offered: yes
Begin Date: ongoing
Contact Information:

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