Finding a Mentor
Finding a faculty mentor is an important step in the program. Students should consider their interest and future career goals. A list of potential faculty mentors that are interested and willing to have a summer scholars student in their laboratory are listed in the link below. Faculty are best contacted via their provided email.
Unless additional funds are available only one student per faculty mentor will be considered for the program.
Former Summer Scholars are an important source of information on what to expect, help on how to find a mentor, and selecting a research topic.
Potential Mentors: Comparative Biomedical Sciences
We investigate changes in neuroendocrine development and behavior in response to exposure to environmental contaminants and try to identify the cellular and molecular alterations behind these organismal changes. Our investigations utilize zebrafish as a model organism and a wide range of molecular biology, transgenesis, microscopy, and analytical tools.
- Molecular mechanisms controlling insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells and their impact on diabetes
- Molecular mechanisms controlling stem cell differentiation for
DNA damage repair and mutagenesis. We primarily use yeast (S. cerevisiae) as a model
organism to elucidate mechanisms of DNA damage repair and how DNA mutations are
Dr. Noël’s lab seeks to investigate the fundamental mechanisms at the epigenetic, molecular and cellular levels that underlie the developmental origins of health and disease, with respect to respiratory effects caused by distinct emerging inhaled environmental pollutants. This includes the study of engineered nanoparticles, cigarette smoke, second-hand smoke, electronic-cigarette aerosols, and hookah smoke, using both in vitro and in vivo models.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are vital cells for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) are the most studied and used MSCs. Primary BMSCs possess robust differentiation capability, which is valuable for treating diseases and injuries. Our preliminary studies have discovered several candidate genes that control the differentiation potential of the BMSCs. This summer research project will test the effects of these genes on osteogenic differentiation (osteo-differentiation) and bone regeneration capabilities of BMSCs using in vitro 3D cell culture and in vivo animal study in conjunction with 3D printing.
Potential Mentors: Pathobiological Sciences
The overall goal of our research is to explore the mechanisms by which inflammatory
cells of the innate immune system control bacterial infection. Further, we aim to
understand how certain pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA)
evade robust inflammatory responses to establish infection and cause disease. We employ
fluorescence microscopy, biochemical and cell biology approaches to interrogate the
importance of cellular stress responses in host defenses and inflammation. We have
demonstrated that the endoplasmic reticulum stress sensor, IRE1, is essential for
innate immune defenses against MRSA both in vitro and in vivo . We found that IRE1
macrophage bactericidal activity by concentrating mitochondrial payloads, such as reactive oxygen species, into phagosomes via generation of mitochondria-derived vesicles. We recently extended our studies to show that IRE1 controls neutrophil effector function, including generation of antimicrobial extracellular traps (NETs) in primary human cells and in murine subcutaneous abscesses during MRSA infection. While ER stress responses and IRE1 activation occur in the lung during infection and the development of pulmonary fibrosis, its role in pulmonary host defense is ill-defined. Therefore, we aim to highlight the importance of IRE1-mediated inflammation in progression and resolution of pulmonary infections.
Staphylococcus aureus can infect every niche of the human host, is the leading cause of Gram-positive sepsis, and causes over 900,000 severe infections annually in the United States. Additionally, 10 % of S. aureus infections are caused by stains resistant to commonly used antibiotics. Our lab furthers the knowledge of how the host kills S. aureus and how S. aureus avoids killing by the host. Specifically, we are focused on the role of protein post-translational modifications at the host-pathogen interface. Through multiple projects that use aspects of analytical chemistry, bacteriology, bacterial pathogenesis, and chemical biology, both in vitro and in vivo , we seek to identify and validate S. aureus therapeutic weaknesses for targeting by the next generation of antimicrobials. If any of these research areas sound interesting, please contact me.
Dr. Guerrero-Plata’s research interests are in the field of viral immunology focused
on innate immunity, dendritic cells and respiratory viruses. Her work includes the
study of the
immune response to respiratory syncytial virus and human metapneumovirus, the most important cause of lower respiratory tract infections in children, elderly and immunocompromised patients. The long-term goal of her research is to develop new strategies to boost antiviral immunity and long-lasting protection against respiratory viral pathogens that cause significant airway morbidity. Additional studies in her laboratory are directed to determine the mechanisms by which environmental factors alter the frequency and severity of respiratory viral infections
Virology and vaccinology, Immunotherapy for Cancer, and COVID-19 research
My lab focuses on understanding the role of cytomegalovirus in the pathogenesis of various cancers. We utilize recombinant murine cytomegalovirus and mouse models of metastatic breast cancer to address questions regarding the mechanism by which cytomegalovirus alters the tumor microenvironment to promote the angiogenesis and metastasis of the primary tumor in-vivo. Additionally, we are interested in ways to utilize viral gene products and the T cell expansion that occurs naturally during cytomegalovirus infection to develop the next generation of immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.
Potential Mentors: Veterinary Clinical Sciences
We do equine research, gastric ulcers, endocrine disease, and clinical trials involving a variety of studies. We also perform general GI Studies.
Endocrinology: Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction in horses; Infectious disease: Salmonellosis in horses; Rhodococcus equi/hoagii in foals.
GI motility in dogs. In particular, I am interested in setting up a laboratory test that would allow practical measurement of gastric emptying. Although the research plan has not yet been finalized, it will most likely include working with VCS research dogs that we will use to test the validity of the parameter (we will feed them a meal with the added substance, and take blood from them at regular intervals after the meal), as well as work in the lab to analyze the blood samples.
Our lab focuses on inflammatory conditions in the horse including laminits, sepsis/SIRS, wound healing and osteoarthritis. Pathophyisology and various therapies (including regenerative medicine) are evaluated for these conditions within the laboratory.
Our laboratory performs research into ocular infectious disease and clinical ophthalmology techniques. We have previously hosted summer scholar students in recent years. Previous students have gained skills in manuscript writing, presentation creation, molecular biology techniques, cell culture, next-generation sequencing and bioinformatic analysis of data.
Assisted reproduction technologies; in vitro fertilization; pharmacologic control of reproduction in broodmares
My areas of research include veterinary anaphylaxis and coagulation. One project fit for a summer scholar is available to establish reference intervals for a modified use of a new benchtop coagulation device. The machine is normally used with fresh whole blood, which creates a very short time frame with which to run the sample. We will be using citrated blood (blue top tubes) to eliminate this issue, and we will attempt to establish reference intervals for this modification so results may be accurately interpreted.
Our laboratory focuses on the basic mechanisms of function, control, and signaling at the maternal-fetal interface during pregnancy in health and disease using the horse and mouse as model species. Investigations employ functional genomics to identify key misregulated events of pregnancy that contribute to adverse outcomes, such as fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia, and maternal/fetal death. The ultimate goal of our research is to develop interventions that ensure pregnancy success and survival of mother and baby.
I’m interested in the interactions between cancer cells and host immune cells. I have ongoing projects investigating therapeutic targeting of HER2 expression by osteosarcoma cells, modulation of immunosuppressive cells within canine sarcomas, utilizing advanced molecular biology techniques to characterize canine immune responses, and monitoring of the systemic immune response in dogs treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.