Department of Biology

Current Research Projects

Currently there are several ongoing research projects in the Department of Biology. 

Student involvement in these and any other research projects in the department is always encouraged either on a volunteer basis or as scheduled research hours.  Competition for these research "spots" is high and depends both upon your GPA and receiving a favorable recommendation from one or more Biology faculty.  If you are interested in participating in one of these projects and are willing to put in the quality work that is required, contact the appropriate faculty member.

Faculty Projects

Huisache Project

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Dr. Kathleen Wood is heading up the huisache project.  This project has several parts to it:  using ISSR-generated data to look at genetic diversity between breeding populations of huisache; investigating the timing of secondary meristem development; using molecular and biochemical techniques to identify the Rhizobium species colonizing the nodules found on huisache roots; investigating a possible allelopathic interaction between huisache and mesquite.

Gene Hunting

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Dr. Andrew Woodward is studying the formation and function of peroxisomes, organelles of the cell that are necessary for the breakdown of fats and several other vital functions.  He uses mutant plants (Arabidopsis thaliana) to study the developmental defects that result from faulty peroxisome function.  After isolating and characterizing a mutant, he uses a technique called recombination mapping to locate the mutant gene and then sequences the DNA to identify the mutation.

Snail Genotyping

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The snail project under Dr. Wood’s supervision has both a field and lab component. Snail collection and identification at various sites around Bell County will be used to broaden a preliminary terrestrial snail survey completed in spring 2014. Students preferring a more molecular focus will choose one or more snail species to extract DNA from, followed by PCR and sequencing of those PCR products.

Departmental Contact: Dr. Kathleen Wood (
Address:  900 College Street, UMHB Station Box 8432, Belton, TX 76513
Phone: (254) 295-4214