23 February 2009

University of Houston summer research info session

Dr. Christina Chan, program director for the NSF-AGEP program at the University of Houston will on campus at noon on Thursday, 26 February 2009 in MAGC 1.302 to talk with undergraduates students in the College on the NSF-AGEP summer research program (10 weeks, $4000 stipend) and about University of Houston graduate programs.

Pizza will be served!

Student profile: Amery Yang

What is your project about?

My project is about measuring oxidative stress in hyper-accumulators and non-accumulators through the biochemical aspect. I will be running assay tests such as SOD, TBARS, CAT, Protein Carbonylation, and Protein Analysis. I will be in charge of two plants: Streptanthus farnsworthianus and Streptanthus polygaloides.

What have you learned or enjoyed so far?

I have learned about many research opportunities that can expand my research experience and knowledge about careers in research. I have enjoyed my time in the lab. To me, I don't view research as job. I get to have fun and learning at the same time. I have also enjoyed talking with the speakers and getting to know how they decided to do research as a career goal.

What are you looking forward to?

I'm looking forward to the upcoming TAS meeting where I will be participating in the poster sessions. I am also looking forward to meeting future speakers and being able to talk with them.

20 February 2009

February seminar: Robin Fuchs-Young

Dr. Robin Fuchs-Young was in town yesterday as the third REU visiting mentor of the academic year. She gave a seminar on her work describing the interaction between a tumor supressor gene, p53, and receptors for the hormone estrogen, and how the interplay between these two affects breast cancer.

Although students were subdued during her talk, several had questions to ask her afterwards!

Dr. Fuchs-Young met with faculty and REU students individually, and also spoke briefly in the research ethics class that REU students are taking about some of the ethical issues she had cause to think about in her professional career.

We thank Dr. Fuchs-Young, and hope she enjoyed her visit despite taking her from her many other commitments (which required some last minute changes to her travel plans!).

L to R: Amery Yang, Ashley Longoria, Robin Fuchs-Young, Stephanie Jimenez, Ammie Ortiz, Jess Valdez, Stephanie Castellanos.

14 February 2009

In the news

The REU program was featured in The Pan American this week.

11 February 2009

Student profile: Ammie Ortiz

Ammie OrtizWhat is your project about?

My research is on the stresses of the seagrass, Thalassia testudinum. There are different types of stresses but our focus is mostly on the stresses caused by salinity. Some problems that seagrasses face in the bay (Laguna Madre) are reduced salinity levels. Reduced salinity levels are induced by an influx of fresh water from rain showers and at times hurricanes. Large amount of freshwater can drastically reduce salinity levels from normal 35 part per thousand to low levels of 14 part per thousand, nearly wiping out the seagrass beds. Unfortunately, this event recently occurred when Hurricane Dolly hit our coastline and reduced salinity levels to as low as 1 part per thousand (freshwater) in the Laguna Madre. We recreated the event by taking T. testudinum from their natural environment to a controlled tank area and currently monitoring their response to both reduced and increased salinity levels.

What have you learned or enjoyed so far?

Time management and patience would definitely be something I’ve taken from this entire experience so far. Also, the “hands-on” experience in both field work and lab has given me more knowledge and a better appreciation to scientific research. The mentors/professors, too, have made this a great experience for me. They help out in every way possible and encourage us to do more for ourselves.

What are you looking forward to?

I look forward to gaining more insight of the research world as I continue to work on my REU project and meet other successful scientist. Keeping close communications with my mentors/professors is definitely something I’m looking forward to as well, since they are the experts in this field so who better to ask advice. Lastly, with everything I’ve learned and continue to learn, I hope to get accepted to grad school considering that I have more experience in the research field all thanks to this program.

Summer internship at National Science Foundation

The institution: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA

The program: Interns will be mentored by NSF program officers who are involved in implementing science policies and in managing/ directing programs focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The interns will have opportunities to further develop their research, communications (oral and written), and other professional skills as well as to become a part of a peer network that includes students from across the country who are serving as summer interns in other QEM or NSF internship programs. Interns will be expected to prepare, and discuss with their mentors, individual development plans; conduct a research project under the guidance of their mentors; submit mid-term and final written reports to QEM; and make oral presentations throughout the summer.

In addition to the ten-week summer internship, interns will be expected to implement science-oriented outreach activities during the academic year when they return to their home institutions to continue their studies. These activities would focus on pre-college students residing, or attending school, in neighboring communities. Interns who successfully complete at least six academic year outreach activities (three per semester), and provide written documentation at the end of each semester, will be eligible to receive an additional stipend of $1,000/semester.

  • 25 May - 31 July 2009

  • Round-trip airfare

  • Assistance with local transportation costs

  • Summer housing on a local college campus

  • $3,000 stipend for undergraduate students and $4,000 for graduate students


  • Citizen or national of the United States

  • Junior, senior, or graduate student

  • Currently enrolled in a science or engineering degree program at a minority-serving institution or at a non-minority institution with a track record in producing science and/or engineering graduates from underrepresented groups

Deadline: 6 March 2009

More information: http://qemnetwork.qem.org/internship.htm

09 February 2009

Student profile: Ashley Longoria

What is your project about?

My project is based on behavior modification of four related killifish after being exposed to Euhaplorchis californiensis. I am investigating the if this parasite specializes in one of species, then another.

What have you learned or enjoyed so far?

I have learned that biology is a growing field, and there is so much to still to discover! What I have enjoyed the most from working in the lab is getting the feeling of being the first to examine this unexplored area.

What are you looking forward to?

I am currently working on my project, and in hopes will get excellent results on my research.

05 February 2009

Student profile: Stephanie Castellanos

Stephanie CastellanosWhat is your project about?

Soil ecology, looking at different types of soil organisms and the uptake of them in various soil and plant environments.

What have you learned or enjoyed so far?

I enjoy gaining experience in a lab setting as well as going out into the field and collecting samples. It is also nice to have mentor professor who is helpful and encourages a future in research. I enjoy meeting other folks in REU program who share similar goals.

What are you looking forward to?

For the year to end! Just kidding. I look forward for graduate school where I can apply my knowledge and experience from taking part in the REU program.

04 February 2009

Audobon Texas Careers in Conservation internship

Audobon TexasThe institution: Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonio. This facility is located on a 1,200 acre natural area with a 600 acre lake and 600 acres of wetlands, ponds and uplands.

The program: Interns conduct on-the-ground research projects and assist in conservation education programs at the site. Each undergraduate student is assigned a research topic and is required to develop a proposal that includes background, justification and methodology.

  • 20 May - 3 July 2009

  • Stipend

  • Housing and partial travel allowance for students outside San Antonio area

  • Collaborate with graduate students and faculty from local universities currently conducting site-based research

  • Meet with conservation professionals employed by city, state, and federal agencies, along with businesses and other non-governmental organizations


  • Completion of two years of university study

  • Academic training in natural resources, natural sciences, environmental sciences, education, recreation, or related field is preferred

  • Natural history background and interest in environmental research or education is preferred

Deadline: 1 April 2009

More information: Email Iliana Pena at ipena@audobon.org

03 February 2009

2009 applications now online!

The application form for those interested in joining the REU program for 2009-2001 is now online!

During the application process, you will be asked to provide:

  • A personal statement describing your reasons for wanting to join the program and career goals

  • Names of two referees who will be providing recommendation letters

Please contact program mentors to discuss research opportunities.

You do not need to have any previous research experience, or be a biology major. No single criterion is used as a "cut-off" for applications. Factors such as having good working relationships with other students and mentors, willingness to learn, and persistance are important, as well as GPA. Students now finishing their first or second year of study are particularly encouraged to apply.

Student profile: Jess Valdez

What is your project about?

My project is observing how temperature variation affects the sprint speed of Sceloporus olivaceus. My test subject is a local species of lizard commonly known as Texas Spiny Lizard. It can be found in trees and other types of terrain.

What have you learned or enjoyed so far?

In participating in the REU program I have learned that there are many opportunities in expanding my career as a research biologist. I have enjoyed the many speakers and mentors that have visited our campus and I have also enjoyed working on a project that I am very passionate and enthusiastic about.

What are you looking forward to?

I am looking forward to presenting my research to the public and publishing a paper. I am also looking forward to obtaining my Master's and continuing my career.

02 February 2009

University of Alabama at Birmingham SIBS program

The institution: University of Alabama at Birmingham

The program:

  • 1 June - 24 July 2009

  • $2000 stipend

  • Free on campus housing

Eligibility: An 8-week program where selected undergraduate students will conduct laboratory research under the guidance of individual UAB faculty members.

  • Sophomore year completed

  • 3.0 GPA or higher, especially in science, math and related areas

Application deadline: 13 March 2009

More information: http://www.uab.edu/sibs or email rlorenz@uab.edu.