Meet the Labs

Vertebrate Development Lab. Instructed by Dr. Jon Sylvester. During embryonic development, differentiation of the nervous system is carefully coordinated by molecular “switches” and signals. This “evo-devo” research course investigates how Hox proteins are involved in regulating this process, and you can contribute to a deeper understanding of animal development while developing basic bioinformatics skills, performing PCR, and using in situ hybridization.

 

Behavioral Endocrinology Lab. Instructed by Dr. Matthew Grober and Dr. Ed Rodgers. Relationships and having kids are stressful! In this CURE, the impact of stress on pair-bonding and parental care are investigated using convict cichlids, a monogamous fish.

 

Urban Metagenomics: Bits & Codes for Life. Instructed by Dr. Jessica Joyner. Bacterial communities colonize every imaginable niche environment us around us, including the concrete jungle of downtown Atlanta! In this CURE, microbiomes and metagenomes are being investigated for potential applications and solutions, and students will craft research projects to explore urban microbiomes and use advanced analysis techniques.

 

Fermentation Ecology. Instructed by Dr. Matthew Nusnbaum. Kombucha (fermented tea) has purported health benefits, and microbial communities in these ecosystems are largely unexplored. What microbes are present in and what biochemical processes are at work to make these unique drinks? This lab seeks to understand the communities that do the work of fermentation.

 

Invertebrate Biology and Arthropod Behavior. Instructed by Dr. Michael Sitvarin. Explore invertebrates through the lens of behavior of arthropods. Little is known about behavior of the most diverse animals on the planet. In this CURE, students will ask questions such as “How do individuals choose mates?” and “How do prey avoid being eaten by their predators?”

 

Molecular Parasitology. Instructed by Dr. Paul Ulrich. There are over 600 species of trypanosomatid parasites, some of which (Trypanosoma and Leishmania) are well-known, human pathogens. These parasites have a unique, single mitochondrion that branches throughout the cell. Surprisingly, roughly 50% of mitochondrial proteins in eukaryotes have known functions! In this CURE, you can use bioinformatics, PCR, CRISPR, immunofluorescence microscopy, and western blotting to answer questions about function of these undescribed proteins in protozoa.

 

Microbial Ecology. Instructed by Dr. Sam Parks. The microbial communities found within environmental samples are remarkably complex and represent a large number of entirely, uncharacterized prokaryote species. The Microbial Ecology CURE takes a closer look at Atlanta soils by isolating bacteria and applying molecular biology techniques to explore phylogeny, metabolism, and antibiotic resistance.

 

international Genetical Engineered Machines (iGEM). Instructed by Dr. Matthew Brewer. Originally started at MIT, iGEM is now an independent non-profit organization that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to work as a team on synthetic biology projects. The GSU iGEM team develops their own projects each year and prepare to present their work and compete for prizes at the annual, international event. Recent projects focused on development of non-addictive analgesics based on snake venom and modification of pregnancy tests for low cost alternatives to toxin detection.