Undergraduate Research Projects in Biological Sciences

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1. Join the Pantophlet Lab: Undergraduate Opportunities in Health Sciences for Fall 2024

          Ralph Pantophlet rpantophlet@sfu.ca website   Needs Volunteer
The Pantophlet Lab, a dynamic and innovative research group in the Faculty of Health Sciences, invites undergraduate students to become an integral part of our team. We offer hands-on lab experience that complements your academic studies, providing an invaluable stepping stone for your future career in science.

Key Responsibilities: • Loading and autoclaving labware • Preparing vital lab solutions and buffers • Maintaining lab equipment • Supporting various other lab activities

What We Offer: • A chance to contribute to significant health science research • Learning from professionals in a state-of-the-art lab environment • Enhancing your resume with practical experience

Ideal Candidate: • Completed at least one upper-division lab course with a B or better • Previous volunteer lab experience (preferred, but not essential)

Commitment: • Minimum of 10 hours per week over at least two days (Monday to Friday)

Students from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

To join us in this exciting opportunity, please send a current CV, academic transcript, and brief description of academic goals to Ralph Pantophlet (rpantophlet@sfu.ca) or contact Ralph Pantophlet for more information.

2. Infectious Diseases Research: Opportunities for BSc Honours Students (2 semesters)

          Ralph Pantophlet rpantophlet@sfu.ca website
The Pantophlet Lab, recognized for cutting-edge research in Health Sciences at SFU, is excited to offer opportunities for upper-division undergraduate students. We seek at least one motivated individual interested in pursuing a 2-semester Honours research project in infectious diseases and vaccine immunology.

Immerse yourself in a vibrant research environment where you will contribute to groundbreaking work in infectious diseases, focusing on vaccine-related research and development. This opportunity is ideal for students passionate about making a meaningful impact in public health and eager to gain hands-on experience in a leading lab.

To be considered for this opportunity, candidates must have a demonstrable interest in infectious diseases research, as evidenced by their academic coursework. We are especially keen to hear from students who are specifically interested in vaccine R&D.

Interested students are invited to apply by emailing rpantophlet@sfu.ca. Your application should clearly describe your research interests and academic goals, as well as a current transcript and an academic CV. By joining the Pantophlet Lab, you will have the chance to work alongside dedicated researchers and significantly contribute to the field of infectious diseases.

3. Gamifying biology (BISC 49X)

          Kathleen Fitzpatrick kathleef@sfu.ca
Fall 2023 (498/499/497 students) Please note that pedagogical projects do not qualify for lab credit. I am looking for 6-8 students to work collaboratively on a project aimed at the gamification of or design of a game for the Bisc 202 course (Intro genetics). The project will be divided into several sections that will somewhat vary depending on the skills and interests students bring to the project. We will begin with a literature search on the topic of the use of games in education and the production of an annotated bibliography, followed by the development of a set of best practices in game use/gamification. You will then design a game or gamification strategy for intro genetics, describing the format the game should take, which learning outcomes are best suited for this purpose, how mastery of the outcomes can be rewarded in the game, and how achievement in the game can be connected to course credit (or not). There is a variety of models or forms this can take - you may work in teams or on your own. You will present your work in written form, but may also make an oral presentation if you wish. Skills you will develop or improve: Reading the pedagogical literature Teamwork skills Personal management, organization, meeting deadlines etc. Collaborative writing of rationale, report, and/or proposal CREATIVITY/Design Oral presentation skills (if you wish; most of our recent grads say they didn't have enough chances to develop oral communication skills during their undergrad) Note that these courses don't result in an automatic A. But you'll have lots of feedback and practice that should lead to you improving greatly, especially in writing, so that you can produce work you are proud of. Not a straight A student? Who cares? I am looking for a variety of students, who are looking to develop skills and use some creativity. The more diverse our group, the better it will be. If you are enthusiastic, hardworking, reliable and willing to explore some unknown territory, that is good enough for me. Also, please note that this project does not count as a lab course. And I cannot run it as designed without a large enouch group. I need at least 6 participants!

4. Gamifying Biology

          Kathleen Fitzpatrick kathleef@sfu.ca
This project is available for students who are interested in taking on an undergraduate research project (BISC 498 or BISC 499) under the pedagogical research category. Project Description: I am looking for 4-6 students to work collaboratively on a project aimed at the gamification of a BISC course. The project will be divided into several sections that will somewhat vary depending on the skills and interests students bring to the project. We will begin with a literature search on the topic of the use of games in education, followed by a rationale (benefits/drawbacks) for using a game platform in a course. We will then select Bisc 202 or Bisc 333 and determine what format the game should take, which learning outcomes are best suited for this purpose, how mastery of the outcomes can be rewarded in the game, and how achievement in the game can be connected to course credit. There is a variety of models or forms this can take - we will examine several and collaboratively select one. We will work on outlining the steps needed to develop the game and will finish up with a proposal and/or storyboards, again depending on the skills and interests of project participants, and the direction the group wants to take. Skills you will develop or improve: Reading the pedagogical literature Teamwork skills Personal management, organization, meeting deadlines etc. Collaborative writing of rational, report, and/or proposal Not a straight A student? Who cares? I am looking for a variety of students, who are looking to develop skills and use some creativity. If you are enthusiastic, hardworking, reliable and willing to explore some unknown territory, that is good enough for me.

5. Evolutionary biology of human health and disease

          Bernard Crespi crespi@sfu.ca website
Interested in medicine, public health, and evolution? In my lab, we use combinations of evidence from evolutionary biology, genetics, endocrinology, and neuroscience to address outstanding questions in the understanding of human health and disease. In doing so, we determine the roles of trade-offs, genomic conflicts, and Darwinian natural selection in the evolution of human psychological and physiological adaptations and disease risks. We are currently focusing especially on reproductive disorders (such as endometriosis and PCOS) and mental disorders (such as autism and schizophrenia). Research on other topics of interest is also a distinct possibility! See my Google Scholar page for recent publications, and check out my talks that are available on Youtube.

6. Examining mitochondrial dynamics in healthy cells and in human disease processes.

          Gordon Rintoul grintoul@sfu.ca website
Mitochondria are usually described as the "powerhouses" of cells, however they also play other pivotal roles in the life and death processes of eukaryotic cells. They display great variation in number, shape and location inside different cell types, appearing as large reticular networks in some cells and as small, punctate, autonomous organelles in others. Mitochondria are also highly dynamic organelles, they can undergo fission, fusion and can be rapidly transported around cells. In my lab we study the mechanisms of these processes in living cells. In addition we study the role of "mitochondrial dynamics" in disease processes, particularly in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's Disease and Stroke. Student projects are available in my lab to study the basic mechanisms of regulating mitochondria dynamics, and to examine how changes in mitochondrial dynamics are involved in neurodegenerative diseases. Students in my lab will employ techniques including molecular biology (amplification and purification of DNA vectors, construction of mammalian expression vectors), cell culture (tissue culture techniques for various cell types, aseptic technique, transfection of astrocytes/neurons with expression vectors) and fluorescence microscopy (live-cell image acquisition, real-time perfusion experiments, image analysis).

 

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