Ouachita Biology students gain indispensable scientific reasoning skills and self confidence through the multiple opportunities for hands-on research in research-based laboratory courses at all levels of the Biology curriculum. In the freshman research experience PHAGES program, students are independently working to discover novel mycobacteriophages—describing the basics of viral biology and genomics and designing and implementing projects to further characterize each bacteriophage. Students enrolled in Microbiology are working through the Small World Initiative to isolate antibiotic-producing bacteria from the environment and describe the physiology of each bacterium. Students in Cell Biology design and carry out experiments in mutant and transgenic plants to investigate oxidative stress pathways and their relevance to human disease. In the senior-level Genetics course, Biology students are working to characterize genes used in synthetic biology research and to assemble functional synthetic genetic elements, contributing to the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) database.
The CURE survey is an online survey for assessing student learning gains. We thank Leslie Jaworski and David Lopatto for the use of the survey and providing the results. The CURE survey is funded with a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF ARABIDOPSIS IN ALTERED ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS
IDENTIFICATION OF THE EXPRESSION PATTERNS OF CANDIDATE APOPTOSIS GENES IN TRANSGENIC
ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON BIOFILM FORMATIONDr. Ruth Plymale collaborates with student researchers to design a unique microbiological project for each student. Many of these projects study biofilms, communities of bacteria encased within a sticky matrix that adheres the bacteria to a surface. Biofilms are both medically and environmentally significant, making them a relevant research topic. Recent research projects have surveyed the distribution of biofilm-forming bacteria in fountain-beverage machines and investigated the ability of commercial mouthwashes to prevent biofilm formation. This picture shows the differential effects of mouthwash on biofilm formation; lighter wells indicate decreased biofilm formation.