Currently there are three 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.
Battling Fire With FireView Project »
Dr. Greg Frederick is heading up one project which involves characterizing the microbial gut flora of imported fire ants (IFA), Solenopsis invicta and S. ricteri, identification and characterization of plasmids associated with these bacteria, and manipulation of these plasmids to carry known arthropod toxin genes to be introduced into IFA colonies for bio-control purposes.
Huisache ProjectView Project »
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.
Dr. Wood is also beginning a research project geared toward isolating and identifying "wild algae" from the local environment. This involves learning algae isolation & keying techniques, media preparation, and molecular identification techniques using PCR and sequencing. If you have an interest in this, please contact Dr. Wood.
Gene HuntingView Project »
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.