Department: Medical Laboratory, Imaging and Radiological Sciences
Title: Cell Biology
Description: Genetic and protein analysis of cellular alteration by alcohol and/or obese treatment.
Department: Pharmacology and Toxicology
Title: Molecular Pharmacology
Description: Investigation of membrane receptor properties with live-cell spectroscopy and microscopy.
Title: Molecular Genetics/Genome Stability/Population Genetics
Description: Investigation of early neuronal genetic markers of alcoholism in rats; Genetic requirements of microsatellite instability; Genetic diversity of multiple crab species along the Georgia and South Carolina coast.
Title: Molecular Microbiology
Description: Nutrient Acquisition by bacteria; E. coli as a Biomarker of Human & Animal Fecal Contamination in Streams & Rivers; Bacterial Physiology and Identification, Antibiotic Resistance
Title: Cell Physiology/Reproductive Physiology
Description: Effect of endocrine disruptors on mLTC-1 Leydig cells
Title: Herpetology/Wetland Ecology
Description: A census of frog populations of aquatic habitats in South Carolina; Aquatic turtle species composition, population evaluation, and environmental toxicology
Title: Cell Biology
Description: Genetic and biochemical analysis of the yeast molecular motor Myo2p
Title: Fish & Wildlife Management/Marine & Wildlife Ecology
Description: Monitoring of deer and wild hog populations along the Savannah River; Monitoring the diversity of fish species in local streams and at St. Catherine's Island, Georgia; Reproduction of blue crayfish in captivity
Title: Marine & Freshwater Population/Community Ecology
Description: Oceanic fish diversity among barrier islands along the Georgia-lina coasts; Diel variation in fish communities on a Georgia barrier island; Differences in tidal creek and oceanic fish diversity on a Georgia barrier island; Snail densities and movement in tidal salt marshes in South Carolina and Georgia barrier islands; Snail plant preference in tidal salt marshes in South Carolina and Georgia barrier islands; Macroinvertebrate diversity in Butler Creek as an indicator of stream health
Title: Microbial Ecology/Entomology
Description: Assessment of bacterial diversity on spiders and determining their resistance to antibiotics; A study of gene regulation at the level of transcription initiation in various bacterial species
Title: General Ecology/Urban Ecology
Description: Recovery of the endangered Shoals Spider Lily; The endangered gopher tortoise and its habitat: tracking, monitoring, and management; Effects of pollution on reproductive physiology of fish
Description: Study of the chemical and biological properties of the toxin responsible for avian vacuolar myelinopathy.
Title: Assessment of Novel Compounds for Anticancer Activity
Description: Dr. Griner's lab is investigating the ability of novel compounds, which mimic the structure of persin, to be effective against breast cancer cells. Persin is a lipid found in avocado leaves that has previously been shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells by stabilizing microtubules which impedes cell division and leads to programmed cell death. However, its ability to be used as a cancer treatment agent is limited because in animal testing it resulted in cardiotoxicity. Recently, Dr. Tom Crute and his students in the Department of Chemistry have begun synthesizing compounds that mimic the basic structure of persin but with minor modifications. The goal is to produce molecules that are effective against breast cancers cells but do not display toxicity to non-target organ systems. In turn, our lab has initiated preliminary tests with these novel compounds to assess their ability to inhibit growth and decrease viability of breast cancer cells. Specifically, using the established breast cancer cell line, MCF-7, we are conducting dose-response experiments with these novel compounds. As we identify compounds that reduce MCF-7 cell viability, it is important to ascertain the mechanisms by which each compound affects the cells. If a compound is acutely toxic and initiates a rapid necrotic form of cell death, then it has no potential for use as a chemotherapeutic agent. However, if a compound functions similarly to persin and interferes with the function of microtubules, then it should initiate programmed cell death (apoptosis), and it may hold promise as a new anticancer agent. Thus, compounds that are found to decrease cell viability are tested further to determine if they induce necrosis or apoptosis.
Student Tasks and Qualifications Needed: Interested students should have completed BIOL 1107 (at a minimum) and have an interest in understanding the regulation of the pathways that control cell growth and death. Students will be given the opportunity to learn the basic techniques of mammalian tissue culture, experimental design using a cell culture model, and to conduct several spectrophotometric-based assay systems. Students may also be exposed to more specialized techniques such as fluorescent microscopy, and flow cytometry. Lastly, students will be expected to devote 3-6 hours per week in the lab, they must develop dependable and reproducible lab skills, and they must develop the ability to work independently with the minimal supervision following an appropriate period of training.
Title: Cryopreservation of Zebrafish Oocytes by an Interdisciplinary Approach
Description: Cryopreservation of Zebrafish Oocytes by an Interdisciplinary Approach. This project is funded by NSF and proposes to tackle cryopreservation of zebrafish oocytes by combining engineering (e.g., mathematical modeling of membrane permeability and cooling profiles) and cell/molecular biology approaches (e.g., molecular manipulation of the membrane transport).
Student Tasks and Qualifications Needed: We can provide training as long as students are highly motivated and can work carefully.