UF Undergraduate Research Database

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Medical - Sialic acid catabolism in nutrition of mycoplasmas
Principal Investigator: Daniel R Brown

The contribution of N-acetylneuraminate scavenging to nutrition of mycoplasma bacteria is being studied. Growth of wildtype will be compared to that of strains unable to liberate or catabolize α-2,3-linked N-acetylneuraminate from serum glycoconjugates or from lung cells cultured in vitro. This is expected to substantiate the metabolic value of this capacity to a mycoplasma when other fermentable substrates are scarce.

Requirements: One semester each of biology and chemistry; microbiology and biochemistry preferred.

Time Commitment: Two half-day blocks per week preferred.

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Association Between Periodontal Disease and Cardio
Principal Investigator: Kesavalu N Lakshmyya

The Major objective of this investigation is to determine the presence of live oral periodontal pathogens in diseased cardiothoracic and vascular tissues and correlate this data with the extent and severity of periodontal disease in cardiothoracic and vascular patients.

Requirements: Biology, Microbiology, Molecular biology

Time Commitment: Flexible

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Periodontal Bacterial Infection and Atherosclerosi
Principal Investigator: Kesavalu N Lakshmyya

The goal of this pilot study is to define the infectious etiology and pathogenesis of infectious atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- mouse model of periodontal disease/balloon angioplasty model of accelerated atherosclerosis.

Requirements: Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology

Time Commitment: Flexible time

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Gene and cell based immunotherapy
Principal Investigator: Lung-Ji Chag

My laboraotry is focused on translational applications of basic research in the area of gene and cell based therapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. We use molecular biology tools including viral vectors and genes to modify immune cells and cancer cells. The goal is to understand fundamental mechanisms behind diseases and immune responses so the knowledge can be applied in the clinics to benefit patients.

Requirements: courses related to biology, microbiology, genetics or biochemistry

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Intimate Partner Violence healthcare utilization
Principal Investigator: Robyn M Hoelle, MD

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major public health problem in the United States and results in significant physical and emotional impairment. Due to the high incidence of injuries and illness associated with IPV, victims are thought to frequently utilize emergency healthcare services. Due to the crowded and resource-scarce environment of emergency departments, these visits have a high potential of being missed screening opportunities for IPV. Join researchers in investigating the current healthcare utilization of confirmed IPV victims.

Requirements: No prior experience needed. Will need to complete HIPAA and researcher's compliance modules.

Time Commitment: flexible

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - IPV Danger Assessment in the Emergency Department
Principal Investigator: Robyn M Hoelle, MD

Even if successful, emergency department identification of Intimate partner violence (IPV) victims may not be sufficient to interrupt the cycle of recurrent violence that affects this patient population. Recently, a modified Lethality Assessment Screen has been successfully utilized by first responders to increase victim referrals to IPV counseling. This screening strategy is unique in that it results in real time opportunities to inform the victim of lethality risk and to connect the victim with an IPV counselor. Use of the Lethality Assessment Screening for First Responders (LASFR) instrument has been shown to decrease homicides, join investigators in administering the screen to patients in the Emergency Department and analyzing the efficacy.

Requirements: no prior experience necessary. Will have to complete HIPAA and researcher's compliance modules.

Time Commitment: flexible, all hours needed.

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Repairing the Injured Spinal Cord
Principal Investigator: Michael A Lane

This project aims at elucidating the anatomical and functional underpinnings of plasticity and recovery following spinal cord injury in the neck region. This research has a particular focus on the respiratory system. Using animal models of SCI, we will assess the therapeutic potential of pharmacological approaches and cell transplant techniques to enhance regeneration and repair of the injured central nervous system.

Requirements: Understanding of cell basic cell biology and laboratory science. Knowledge of fundamental neuroscience is preferable. Applicants should have a strong work ethic, show dedication to the research and great care in their approach to all required tasks.

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Aging Mechanisms In Cells
Principal Investigator: John P Aris

Our laboratory is interested in the molecular and cellular basis of aging. There are a number of mechanisms that contribute to the aging process at the molecular and cellular level. These mechanisms include, but are not limited to: (1) molecular damage, such as that produced by reactive oxygen species (ROS), (2) reduced biosynthesis, which replaces or repairs damaged molecules, and (3) impaired turnover, which is responsible for the removal of damage. Our current research is focused on understanding the importance of maintaining biosynthetic activity in non-dividing (post-mitotic) cells in order to circumvent the effects of reduced biosynthesis to cellular aging. Chronological aging experiments are done using the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is easy to manipulate genetically in order to investigate cellular pathways that contribute to aging or longevity. Our long term goal is to extend these studies to higher cells types in order to better understand general mechanisms that influence aging at the molecular and cellular levels in human cell types.

Requirements: Basic knowledge of cell biology and genetics. Enthusiasm for doing experiments "at the bench" and willingness to learn and master basic laboratory techniques.

Time Commitment: At least two semesters

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Determinants of Anesthesiology Resident Success
Principal Investigator: Tammy Y Euliano

Cull information from current and past residents' applications and compare with their performance in residency seeking features that correlate with success.
Start date is entirely flexible

Requirements: Microsoft Excel skills organization imagination

Time Commitment: flexible

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Simulation for Progress in Anesthesiology Resident
Principal Investigator: Tammy Y Euliano

Anesthesiology residents will perform the identical scenario on our full-scale simulator. Researcher will review videos of these sessions and identify specific features present or absent using a checklist. Video will be marked for each feature.
Start date is flexible

Requirements: computer skills observation skills

Time Commitment: variable

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Cancer Vaccine
Principal Investigator: Zhen Su

Active immunotherapy using antigen-loaded antigen presenting cells (APC) has now become the focus of many academic and industry-based research and development programs since they are highly effective in overcoming immune tolerance by priming potent T-cell immunity in models for cancer or viral disease. The primary drawback of using autologous APC vaccines in clinical trials is that this mode of vaccination is a customized form of cell therapy, necessitating APC generation from every individual patient. For example, preparing human dendritic cells (DC) from progenitor cells remains a complex and laborious task, thereby limiting the availability of cells for vaccination. Moreover, the time interval between the initial cell harvest and the ultimate availability of the vaccine significantly delays or even precludes immunization of patients with progressing tumors or with acute viral disease. Allogeneic vaccines may overcome some of these obstacles, but lack the appropriate HLA or costimulatory molecules to achieve optimal antigen presentation. Our recent evidence suggests that human embryonic stem (hES) cell lines can serve as a virtually unlimited source for generating antigen-loaded APC with either immunostimulatory or immunosuppressive capacity. We are working on bring this cutting edge stem cell technology from bench to the clinic.

Requirements: Basic Science Background

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Cancer Stem Cells
Principal Investigator: Zhen Su

The recent discovery of cancer stem cells has not only expanded our knowledge regarding the oncogenic process, but also has provided new opportunities to develop new and more effective anticancer therapies. Recent studies have demonstrated that cancer stem cells are chemo- and radiation-resistant, explaining the frequent failures of conventional therapies. Most importantly, the migration of cancer stem cells from its origin to other sites has shown to be responsible for the development of metastases, the main cause of cancer death. Therefore, targeting cancer stem cells in conjunction with conventional therapies (i.e. irradiation or chemotherapy) is a novel and appealing concept that is pursued in many research and development programs. Although there is recent evidence that prostate cancer stem cells exist, little is known about their exact phenotype and function in the human prostate environment. In preliminary work, we have recently shown that cancer stem cells can be isolated from human prostate cancer cells using the stem cell markers. Currently, we are conducting research that could directly target cancer stem cells for disrupting tumor regeneration in the cancer patients.

Requirements: Basic Science Background

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - InvestiGators
Principal Investigator: Peggy R. Borum

There are positions available for undergraduate students with a desire to be involved in a meaningful research experience. These projects emphasize independent, critical and creative thinking. The undergraduate research program is composed of three research teams. The Gator Team works with children who are HIV positive. There are patient support activities as well as nutritional and body composition data collection and analyses for clinical studies. The Carnitine Team studies the long-chain fatty acid carrier, carnitine, by working with animal models and analyzing data gathered in both human and animal studies. The KetoGator Team works with children participating in Ketogenic Therapy for seizures, which is a dietary alternative to anticonvulsant medications. There is an emphasis on patient support, data collection, and data analyses for clinical studies. Members of all three teams make up the InvestiGators. InvestiGators is a research-based honor society that provides students who are involved in intensive research a forum to practice good research procedure, share knowledge, and foster friendships (http://borum.ifas.ufl.edu/Investigators/ ). Undergraduate students with adequate commitment to the project have opportunities to be involved in either patient interaction and/or bench research. With time, there is a potential for leadership positions and personal thesis projects.

Requirements: Students willing to commit a minimum of 1 year to the project will be considered, but a longer tenure is needed to provide students with the opportunity to present research at national scientific meetings and to publish their research in leading peer reviewed scientific journals. Students will be treated as professional colleagues and be expected to perform in a mature and professional manner.

Time Commitment: 20 hours/week for 1 year

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Characterization of anti-autophagy compounds
Principal Investigator: William A Dunn

This is a translational project involving the identification and characterization of potential anti-autophagy compounds by morphological and biochemical assays. Identification of potential compounds will be done by computer modeling. The characterization of these compounds will be done by fluorescence microscopy and Western blotting using established cancer cell lines.

Requirements: Intro Biology and Chemistry Courses

Time Commitment: 10 - 12 hours per week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Characterization of pro-autophagy compounds
Principal Investigator: William A Dunn

This is a translational project involving the identification and characterization of potential pro-autophagy compounds by morphological and biochemical assays. Identification of potential compounds will be done by computer modeling. The characterization of these compounds will be done by fluorescence microscopy and Western blotting using established cancer cell lines.

Requirements: Intro Biology and Chemistry Courses

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - HIV and HCV viral diversity and drug resistance
Principal Investigator: Gary P Wang

Research in my Lab focuses on understanding virus-host interactions, in particular the mechanisms by which viruses evade host immune responses and antiviral drug selective pressures. Specifically, the lab studies hepatitis C virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus, using a combination of methods including high throughput next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics, as well as traditional methods of molecular biology and virology. As a deeper understanding of viral population dynamics and evolution is critical to many aspects of HIV and HCV treatment and prevention, the lab studies the genomic consequences of HIV and HCV infection in patients in the face of antiviral pressure, with the dual goal of understanding mechanisms and developing strategies for antiviral therapy. Please see http://wanglab.medicine.ufl.edu for more information.

Requirements: Knowledge or previous coursework in molecular biology is highly recommended. The student should have a strong work ethic, and be able to commit at least 6-8 hours per week.

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Available
Salary: Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Gene replacement and immune therapy for MPS IIIB
Principal Investigator: Coy D Heldermon

Using a mouse model of N-Acetyl Glucosaminidase deficiency, the effects of Gene therapy will be compared to therapy with immuno-modulatory agents on the progression of disease phenotype and markers of lysosomal storage and immune activation.

Requirements: Must be a hands on and inquisitive learner. Must be willing to perform non-surgical procedures on mice, such as injections and behavioral tests. Must be willing to perform organ harvests from dead mice.

Time Commitment: part or full time, 1-8 hours/day

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Modulation of maternal-fetal microchimerism
Principal Investigator: Coy D Heldermon

Stem cell exchange during pregnancy will be assessed and related to stem cell transplantation, and administration of growth factors.

Requirements: Must be an active and inquisitive learner. Must be willing to perform injections and organ harvests on mice of varying age.

Time Commitment: part or full time

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Xenografting to identify breast cancer biomarkers
Principal Investigator: Coy D Heldermon

Primary human breast cancers will be xenografted into mice. Presence of serum and tumor associated biomarkers will be assessed by mass spectroscopy, and microarray studies will be performed. Presence of metastases will be determined histologically to determine patterns of spread.

Requirements: Must be an active and inquisitive learner. Must be willing to perform injections, assist with surgeries and perform organ harvests on mice.

Time Commitment: part or full time

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Genetics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Principal Investigator: Soo-Jeong Kim

We are interested in finding contributing genetic factors for specific behavioral and psychiatric phenotypes of neurodevelopmental genetic disorders. Currently, we have enlisted two clinical populations for our study: Autism Spectrum Disorder and Prader-Willi syndrome. Our project consists of clinical assessments of participating subjects (phenotypic assessment) and molecular genetic study (genotyping) to find phenotype-genotype correlations.

Requirements: Applicants interested in clinical assessments are required to have good clinical manner and motivation to learn new diagnostic assessments. Applicants interested in molecular genetic study are required to have motivation to learn new molecular genetic study protocols, such as DNA extraction, quantification, and genotyping. Strong work ethics and motivation are most important.

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Nicotine and alcohol withdrawal and relapse.
Principal Investigator: Adriaan W Bruijnzeel

Research in our laboratory focuses on the development of novel, non-addictive, treatments for nicotine and alcohol withdrawal and relapse. We use the rodent intracranial self-stimulation procedure to investigate the negative mood state associated with drug withdrawal. In addition, we use rodent drug self-administration procedures to investigate the neuronal substrates underlying stress-induced relapse. We also have projects that investigate the long-term effects of childhood second hand smoke exposure (rat model). It is suggested that childhood second hand smoke exposure potentiates the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse later in life.

Requirements: Projects are time consuming, but the student can learn numerous new techniques, including surgeries. This project is only suitable for students with a strong interest in preclinical biomedical research.

Time Commitment: At least 10 hours per week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Modulation of estrogen sulfotransferase
Principal Investigator: Margaret O James

Research in this laboratory has shown that several currently used drugs and household chemicals influence the biotransformation of the steroid hormone, estradiol. The project will further examine the interaction of these chemicals with estrogen sulfotransferase and other sulfotransferase enzymes

Requirements: Chemistry or biochemistry major

Time Commitment: 10 hr per week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Insects as models for diabetes and obesity
Principal Investigator: Daniel A. Hahn

Our lab uses insects as models for basic physiological processes in human diseases. One current project explores how flies regulate blood sugar and fat loads in response to seasonal cycles. Flies enter a hibernation-like state during the winter; and like hibernating grizzly bears, over wintering flies accumulate greater fat stores than summer flies. We are studying the roles of two important endocrine signaling pathways in this process, insulin (yes, flies have an insulin signaling system!) and the glucagon-like adipokinetic hormone in this process.

Requirements: Student must be willing to work hard and learn new things. No experience necessary, but prior coursework in biology and chemistry a plus.

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Available
Salary: Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - fMRI Imaging of Pain Sensitivity
Principal Investigator: Roland Staud

Functional neuroimaging with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have begun to provide new insights into the cortical and subcortical processing of pain. These techniques can measure alterations in cerebral blood flow, which reflect changes in neuronal activity. The brain areas identified to be relevant to pain processing in human subjects include the thalamus, primary and secondary somatosensory cortex (S1, S2) the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex. Previous results of heat sensory testing in subjects with fibromyalgia syndrome (FM) showed signs of central sensitization as well as abnormalities of pain aftersensations when compared to normal controls. The proposed study will evaluate the brain activation of FM and NC subjects during wind-up testing. FM patients will undergo measurements of clinical pain and heat sensory testing during fMRI. The quantitative methods of evaluation involve the use of a validated visual analogue scale (VAS) for measuring clinical pain as well as repetitive application of brief, non-injurious thermal and mechanical stimulation that normally produces a moderate degree of central sensitization. The subjects will verbally rate the magnitude of early and late sensations elicited by each stimulus, using a numerical scale.

Requirements: Strong interest in biology, anatomy (particularly neuro-anatomy), and biochemistry

Time Commitment: 2 x 3 hours per week minimum

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Analgesic Mechanisms of Acupuncture
Principal Investigator: Roland Staud

Acupuncture (AP) has been found to be effective for the treatment of postoperative and chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting as well as post-operative dental pain. Several recent randomized, controlled trials have provided strong evidence for beneficial AP effects on chronic low back pain and knee pain from osteoarthritis. For many other chronic pain conditions, including headaches, neck pain, and fibromyalgia pain, the evidence supporting AP’s efficacy is less convincing. Furthermore, AP seems to be ineffective in treating addiction, insomnia, obesity, asthma, or stroke deficits. AP’s effects on experimental pain appear to be mediated by analgesic brain mechanisms through the release of neurohumoral factors, some of which can be inhibited by the opioid antagonist naloxone. In contrast to placebo analgesia, AP related pain relief takes considerable time to develop and to resolve. Thus, some of the long-term effects of AP analgesia cannot be explained by placebo mechanisms. Furthermore, repetitive use of AP analgesia can result in tolerance as well as cross-tolerance with morphine. It appears that some forms of AP are more effective for providing analgesia than others. Particularly, electro-AP seems best to activate powerful opioid and non-opioid analgesic mechanisms.

Requirements: Most importantly, interest in human pain research. Biology background, familiarity with computers, and lab experience are helpful but not necessary.

Time Commitment: 2 x 3 hours per wee, minimum

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Varied Projects
Principal Investigator: Eric A Storch

These projects investigate:
1) new methods of assessing symptoms and impairment in adults with Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
2) Parental experiences of having a child with an anxiety disorder
3) Insight in childhood OCD
4) There are also opportunities to conduct senior theses in this lab.
5) Perceptions of psychiatric illnesses

Requirements: Psychology major; GPA > 3.5 in major. Junior or Senior preferred

Time Commitment: at least 4 hours per week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Functional Brain Imaging in FM Patients
Principal Investigator: Roland Staud

Pain is a complex experience and almost always requires acitvation of nociceptors. However, in many pain syndromes such activation is not readily detectable. Low back pain and fibromyalgia (FM) are such pain disorders. This research project will examine the role of tonic nociceptive input on chronic pain in patients with FM syndrome. Age/sex matched participants will be used as normal controls. Tonic pain will be induced by muscle stimulation and reduced by muscle injection with a local anesthetic. Psychophysical testing of the skin and muscle via computerized thermal/mechanical probes will be used to examine the role of tonic mechanical stimulations on pain and pain processing. In a subsequent study the same manipulations will be used during functional magnetic resonance scans (fMRI) to characterize the pain related brain areas related to tonic impulse input.

Requirements: Strong interest in biology, (particularly anatomy) and biochemistry.

Time Commitment: 3 hours x 2 per week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Brain Imaging
Principal Investigator: Keith D White

This research uses magnetic resonance brain imaging. One set of projects involves functional magnetic resornance imaging to identify processes in the brain which change as stroke patients recover functions. Other projects involve neurodegenerative diseases or head injury.

Requirements: SORRY, THERE ARE NO OPENINGS FOR SPRING 2011. Requirements: Students who have taken neuropsychology, physiological psychology and/or sensory processes courses, or their equivalents. Knowledge about computers is a plus.

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Available
Salary: Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - GW/P bodies and RNAi in biology and diseases
Principal Investigator: Edward KL Chan

Our laboratory is primarily interested in cell biology and autoimmunity with the focus in autoantigens and autoantibodies associated with systemic autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren’s’ syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus, and, in recent years, oral cancer. The two main directions are 1) to identify and characterize specific autoimmune target antigens and understand why autoantibodies are induced and continually produced in different disease states and 2) to use human autoantibodies as unique probes to reveal the molecular and cellular functions of interesting macromolecules and subcellular organelles that are autoimmune targets. By understanding the biology of autoantigens in health and disease states, we can appreciate the functional and pathogenic potentials of autoantibodies.
In the past 7 years, our laboratory has been actively characterizing the protein GW182 which is a macromolecular marker of the cytoplasmic foci known as GW/P bodies (GWB). Interestingly, GWB are known to vary in size and number throughout the cell cycle and are largest in size and most abundant in number during the late S and G2 phases. Recent studies in our laboratory have linked RNA interference (RNAi) to GWBs, in that disruption or disassembly of GWB impairs short interference RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA) silencing activity. Furthermore, we showed that the biogensis of miRNA is closely linked to GWB formation. Translational silencing via RNAi is a remarkable form of gene regulation. The best known macromolecule essential for this biological process is the protein known as Ago2, also a significant autoantigen in lupus and related disorders, is the catalytic core of the RNA induced silencing complex (RISC). We and others have demonstrated that Ago2 is highly enriched in GWBs suggesting that RNAi function may be compartmentalized in most cells examined to date. As miRNAs are implicated in the regulation of cell cycle progression and cell proliferation, it is very likely that GWBs may very well be also linked to these cellular processes. Our laboratory will continue to examine the role of GWB in cellular miRNA function, their contribution to different disease processes, and the use of RNAi for therapeutics especially in oral medicine.

Requirements: Please provide current college transcript. Background that includes laboratory coursework in molecular biology, microbiology, cell biology, and/or immunology preferred.

Time Commitment: minimum 8 hours per week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Magnetic Field Effects on Uric Acid Metabolism
Principal Investigator: Alex Angerhofer

This project will test the hypothesis that radical reactions involving uric acid are responsible for cellular disfunction. Adipocytes (fat cells)will be grown in a magnetic field with various levels of uric acid in the growth medium. Control cells will be grown without a magnetic field. Since radical reactions are sensitive to an externally applied magnetic field the cells will react differently if uric acid decays via a radical pathway.

Requirements: General Chemistry and General Physics courses (and lab classes) should be completed.

Time Commitment: 1/2 - 1 day/week

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Oncogenes and tumor suppressors in cancer
Principal Investigator: Daiqing Liao

Our research program focuses on understanding function and regulation of tumor suppressor p53 and its homologous transcriptional activators by viral oncogenes and cellular proteins. In one project, we are studying how adenovirus E1B 55-kDa oncoprotein impacts on p53 pathway and roles of this viral oncoprotein in cell transformation induced by adenovirus, a DNA tumor virus. We have found that the E1B 55-kDa protein inhibits p53’s functions through several distinct biochemical mechanisms including inhibition of posttranslational modifications of p53, sequestration of p53 in the cytoplasm and impairs regulation of p53 by cellular proteins. Current efforts focus on understanding how E1B 55-kDa oncoprotein represses transcription and potential role of cytoplasmic sequestration of p53 by this viral oncogene in apoptosis. In another project, we are investigating the interplay between acetylase and coactivator PCAF and p53 family of proteins and the impact of their interactions on expression of p53 target genes and on tumor suppression. We are also interested in understanding how stresses relay signals to p53. To this end, we have found that p53 is phosphorylated at specific serine residues in the C-terminal regulatory domain by a yet to be identified kinase. We are making progress in identify this kinase through proteomic approaches. Our goal here is to identify this kinase and study its role in signaling pathways converging on p53. Finally, we have been interested in understanding the interactions between p53 family proteins and Daxx. We and others have found that Daxx binds to p53 and p73. These interactions may play important roles in the diverse functions of Daxx ranging from transcriptional regulation to apoptosis, as well as cell cycle control. Our long-term goal is to understand the cellular regulatory circuitries that govern cell growth and transformation through focused research on the p53 pathway by using cutting-edge technologies in cell biology, genomics and proteomics. We believe that such approaches will likely yield useful knowledge that will have major impact in cancer cell biology and may also have translational values in designing treatments for cancer patients. See: http://plaza.ufl.edu/dliao/

Requirements: Students who have taken advanced chemistry and biology courses such as biochemistry, molecular biology, and molecular genetics.

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Physical Science - Physical chemistry of mineral-fluid-gas interactio
Principal Investigator: Philip S Neuhoff

We explore fundamental chemical processes controlling the evolution of the earth's surface and upper crust. Current research projects involve experimental and geological sample-based studies of thermodynamic properties and chemical phase relations, thermodynamic properties, and reaction rates. Students can obtain training in laboratory studies of reactions between minerals and aqueous solutions, calorimetric measurements of thermodynamic properties, and petrographic and chemical analysis of geological samples.

Requirements: Introductory geology and mineralogy helpful; freshman chemistry required. Dedication and commitment a must.

Time Commitment: 10 hrs/week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Available
Volunteer: Available
Physical Science - Radar Analysis of Landfalling Hurricanes
Principal Investigator: Corene J Matyas

The project uses radar data to determine where heavy rainfall occurs in landfalling hurricanes. A GIS is used to spatially analyze the rainfall patterns, which is a new approach for this type of work. The results of this project will be used to develop a rainfall forecast model that could be tested at the National Hurricane Center.

Requirements: knowledge of ArcGIS, ability to program with ArcObjects in Visual Basic

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Physical Science - Molecule Synthesis for Supramolecular Applications
Principal Investigator: Ronald K Castellano

The Castellano research group uses the tools of organic synthesis to create new functional organic molecules. These molecules have potential applications in molecular recognition and self-assembly, molecular electronics and sensors, and/or as bio-inspired materials. These efforts fall within the sub-discipline known as "supramolecular chemistry". An undergraduate will synthesize small molecules to further studies in one of two specific areas: a) through-bond donor-acceptor interactions in advanced materials; b) nucleobases and related bio-derived heterocycles as optical probes, sensors, and monomers for novel responsive materials. Although this research is largely based in synthetic chemistry and solution-phase characterization (e.g. NMR, UV/Vis, fluorescence, IR, etc.), aspects of the project could involve computation (for design and study) and X-ray crystallography.

Requirements: Applicants must have had two semesters of Organic Chemistry including the lab (CHM 2210, CHM 2211, CHM 2211L)

Time Commitment: minimum 8 hours/wk (= two lab afternoons)

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Not Available
Physical Science - Computer-assisted design of NMR experiments
Principal Investigator: Joanna R. Long

The project will use computer based optimization of solid state magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) to design radiofrequency experiments for high magnetic field applications. Applicant will help with design and writing Matlab programs, TCL scripts, and bash scripts to do the optimization. Applicant will also help with experimental verification of optimized solutions on spectrometers at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. Tasks will include programming, spectroscopy, working with large, superconducting magnets, and general maintenance and repair of various mechanical and electrical devices.

Requirements: Programming experience, preferably Matlab. Experience with the Linux environment.

Time Commitment: 6-12 hours/week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Physical Science - Examining moisture fields around hurricanes
Principal Investigator: Corene J Matyas

Data pertaining to moisture contained in the atmosphere are spatially analyzed to determine how much moisture is required to support cloud formation and rainfall production in hurricanes.

Requirements: familiar with ArcGIS

Time Commitment: several hours per week/ flexible times

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Physical Science - Hurricane contributions to monthly rainfall
Principal Investigator: Corene J Matyas

Data from rain gauges located in the Southeast U.S. are imported into Excel. Monthly rainfall totals are calculated by summing the daily totals. Days when hurricanes pass nearby each gauge are identified and rainfall totals on these days are summed. We then divide hurricane rainfall by monthly total rainfall to determine the percent of monthly rainfall that is contributed by hurricanes.

Requirements: familiar with Excel

Time Commitment: several hours per week/flexible hours

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Physical Science - Synthesis of Peptide Conjugates
Principal Investigator: Alan R Katritzky

α-Amino acids and their derivatives are central to the chemistry and biology of peptides and proteins. They are also versatile synthetic building blocks for pharmaceutical applications, precursors for the generation of molecular diversity. Attaching amino acid and peptide groups to heterocyclic moieties can increases pharmaceutical value. Our aim is to synthesize different nitrogen containg heterocycles with attached amino acids, using acylbenzotriazoles as a coupling reagent. Applicant will help in synthesizing the compounds with their characterizations by using NMR, Mass spectroscopy, elemental analysis.α-Amino acids and their derivatives are central to the chemistry and biology of peptides and proteins. They are also versatile synthetic building blocks for pharmaceutical applications, precursors for the generation of molecular diversity. Attaching amino acid and peptide groups to heterocyclic moieties can increases pharmaceutical value. Our aim is to synthesize different nitrogen containg heterocycles with attached amino acids, using acylbenzotriazoles as a coupling reagent. Applicant will help in synthesizing the compounds with their characterizations by using NMR, Mass spectroscopy, elemental analysis.

Requirements: Completion of Organic Chemistry 2210, 2211, 2211L

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Physical Science - Novel Flourescent Probes
Principal Investigator: Alan R Katritzky

Fluorescence spectroscopy is a valuable tool for biochemical research on ions, biosensors, and processes such as protein folding, protein-protein interactions, and phosphorylation. While many fluorescence applications rely on the use of intrinsic fluorophores, the development of new extrinsic fluorophores remains an essential element for the design of new fluorescent probes. Organic fluorophores based on a naphthalene nucleus, usually with an amino substituent, have aroused the interest of photochemists and photobiologists because of their sensitivity to solvent effects. Substantial changes in the fluorescence spectrum, quantum yield, and lifetime are often observed with solvent changes or as a result of binding to a substrate. In this project, a new environmentally sensitive chlorine-substituted napthalimide-based fluorophore will be synthesized and then will be coupled with free and Fmoc-protected amino acids. The products will be characterized and their fluorescence properties in different solvents will be studied. SO

Requirements: Completion of Organic Chemistry 2210, 2211, 2211L

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Physical Science - Depsides and Depsipeptides
Principal Investigator: Alan R Katritzky

The project will use benzotriazole methodology) to synthesis depsides and depsipeptides. Naturally occurring depsides and depsipeptides are analogs to peptides. Depsides are composed of α-hydroxy acids linked by ester bonds; depsipeptides are composed of both hydroxy and amino acids linked by ester and amide bonds. Many of them exhibit significant biological activities such as antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and moreover that they have applicable therapeutic properties including anticancer and anti-HIV. Applicant will help with synthesis and purification of these depsides and depsipeptides. Purification of compounds will be done using recrystallisation, column chromatography or distillation techniques. Applicant will also help with characterization of these compounds using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, elemental analysis and high pressure liquid chromatography.

Requirements: Completion of Organic Chemistry 2210, 2211, 2211L

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Physical Science - Aminoxy Peptides
Principal Investigator: Alan R Katritzky

-Aminoxy peptides have received considerable interest as a novel foldamers. Aminoxy peptides attract much attention because of their unusual conformations and interesting bioactivities. Peptides containing -aminoxy acids are good receptors for anions because of the acidity of their aminoxy amide protons. Solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) has become a major technique for rapid synthesis of potentially bioactive peptides. The increased efficiency of SPPS has resulted in its near-exclusive use for the preparation of peptides which in turn led to better coupling reagents, better yields and shorter coupling times. Applicant will help with synthesis and purification of these aminoxy peptides using microwave assisted solid-phase peptide synthesis. Applicant will also help with characterization of these compounds using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, elemental analysis and high pressure liquid chromatography.

Requirements: Completion of Organic Chemistry 2210, 2211, 2211L

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Physical Science - Small Depsipeptides
Principal Investigator: Alan R Katritzky

The goal of our project is to synthesize small depsipeptides. The synthesis of these molecules (e.g.: L-Lys-D-Ala-D-Lac) is relevant to problems associated with the resistance of bacteria to the glycopeptides antibiotic vancomycin, which is considered to be the last resort for the treatment of infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria. The simple replacement of an amide NH-group with an ester-oxygen results in the replacement of a stabilizing hydrogen bond with a destabilizing lone pair-lone pair repulsion within the vancomycin-ligand complex. Students will be trained to work in organic laboratory to synthesize (reactions under anhydrous and non-anhydrous atmosphere, reactions at room temperature, under reflux or at low temperature), purify (TLC and chromatography column, also the technique for crystallization) and analyze (1H- and 13C-NMR, CHN) small depsipeptide conjugates.

Requirements: Completion of Organic Chemistry 2210, 2211, 2211L

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Social Sciences - Outcome Measures for Children with Asthma
Principal Investigator: Pey-Shan Wen

The purpose of this longitudinal study is to examine the psychometric properties of several assessments, especially the items from the NIH Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), applying on children with asthma. This longitudinal study consists of two types of data collections: phone interview and online report. Students will have hand-on experience of outcome research and will develop skills for research. Please contact pnw@ichp.ufl.edu for more information.

Requirements: Anyone can apply; but we prefer - an interest in research and statistics - an interest in outcome measures - a willingness to commit to 2 semesters; this will provide more comprehensive research experience and skill development - a willingness to commit no less than 12 hours to this study - Good communication skills, friendly, motivated, and hard working.

Time Commitment: 12 hours a week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Social Sciences - Phase III Trials in Clinical Research
Principal Investigator: Kimberly Case

Clinical Research with the Institute on Aging. Phase III clinical trials investigating the impact of exercise and/or drug therapies on disability prevention in the elderly. Students may chose among three large projects currently being conducted. Additional opportunities in smaller, early-phase clinical studies.

Requirements: Junior or Senior undergraduate students considering graduate or medical school. Must be willing to volunteer for at least 1 year.

Time Commitment: At least 1 year

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Social Sciences - Alcohol Addiction & Treatment in China
Principal Investigator: Trysh Travis

There has been little systematic study of alcohol use, abuse, and treatment in China. It is generally understood that, since the cultural revolution, alcohol abuse and addiction have been seen as moral failings and treated punitively, rather than approached through the medicalized or harm reduction models prevalent in the West. This project attempts to agggregate existing literature on alcohol abuse and treatment to understand evolving cultural attitudes, particularly towards the treatment of alcoholics. Literature surveyed will be incorporated into a cross-cultural study.

Requirements: -- reading knowledge of Mandarin Chinese -- familiarity with social science and public health databases and research techniques -- clear writing and communication skills

Time Commitment: variable, but possibly 2-3 hours/week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Social Sciences - Missionaries & Social Services in Colonial Africa
Principal Investigator: Kate Baldwin

During the colonial period, governments provided few social services in Africa; instead, missionary organizations led initiatives to build schools and clinics. This project examines the causes and consequences of missionary involvement in social service provision. In what situations did missionaries provide more social services? Have communities that received more missionary education subsequently had greater economic and political advancement? In places where ethnic groups received different opportunities for mission education, has this resulted in economic and political inequalities? The answers to these questions have current relevance, as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) continue to play an important role in social service delivery in contemporary Africa. This research seeks to answer these questions by creating a comprehensive data set on missionary activities in sub-Saharan Africa during the first half of the 20th century.

Requirements: Careful, detail-oriented individual. Previous experience using ArcGIS a bonus; willingness to learn ArcGIS required. Knowledge of French or Portuguese advantageous.

Time Commitment: Must be able to commit 4-5 hours per week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Social Sciences - Nature-based Tourism as a Rural Development Strate
Principal Investigator: Julie A. Silva

Despite rapid economic liberalization, many African countries have been unable to export themselves out of poverty via the agricultural sector. Governments are looking increasingly to tourism exports as a source of growth. This study assesses how nature tourism affects poverty and inequality in the southern African region by investigating two case study countries: Namibia and Mozambique. The analysis will examine the relationship between nature-based tourism, inequality, and poverty at the regional, community, and household levels, while also accounting for environmental, economic, and cultural diversity between and within countries.

Requirements: Knowledge of SPSS or SAS and/or knowledge of GIS software. Knowledge of Portuguese preferred but not required.

Time Commitment: 10-15 hours per week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Not Available
Social Sciences - UF Weight Management Lab
Principal Investigator: Kristina M von Castel-Roberts

Currently, the lab is working on a new study called Rural Lifestyle Intervention Treatment Effectiveness Trial, or Rural LITE. The research is supported by a $3.6 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The Rural LITE research program will build on the success of one of our previous studies that tested the effectiveness of a weight-loss program with long-term follow-up counseling services for women in rural counties. In the previous study, we found that the participants who received extended care were able to maintain their weight loss at higher levels than those participants who only received printed health education as a follow-up. In addition, telephone counseling was as successful as in-person counseling, giving a cost-effective alternative to face-to-face visits that is more convenient for rural residents who may need to travel long distances for care.

In the new study, we hope to determine the minimum intensity of treatment required to produce clinically meaningful, long-term weight loss in underserved community settings.

Requirements: We expect all volunteer research assistants to commit to at least 3 credit hours (e.g. 9 hours per semester), for at least one semester. We will ask you to keep a relatively consistent set of scheduled hours. Students wishing to pursue an senior honors thesis should first gain experience with our lab as a research volunteer. Writing a thesis is a very time intensive process, both for the student and for the lab as a whole. Thesis students should be prepared and willing to put in the necessary effort. You should have a specific interest in our research area, have a good understanding of the research process, have excellent writing skills, and should be able to understand and thoughtfully discuss scholarly research articles. In general, students who are planning to pursue graduate education in psychology or nutrition would "fit" well with the research that we conduct; however we are willing to supervise students from other areas on a case-by-case basis.

Time Commitment: 9 hours per week minimum

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Social Sciences - Methods for the Investigation of Online Behaviors
Principal Investigator: Erik W Black

Through multidisciplinary work in medicine, public health/ health services research and education, we, as investigators with the Division of General Pediatrics, employ techniques of observational research to understand outcomes in health and well-being. We are currently involved in several projects in education and medicine, although we specifically are seeking help in investigating online profiles and their relationships to health. We argue that the degree of overlap between high-risk behaviors depicted in online social networking profiles (eg: Facebook, MySpace) and real-life, high-risk behaviors (alcohol, drug, tobacco consumption, sexual practices, etc) is unknown. Our research aims to explore two related objectives: first, it aims to establish a rubric, or tool, to reliably quantify the content of online social networking profiles. Second, it aims to test whether high-risk behaviors depicted in individual online social networking profiles are associated with participation in real-life, high-risk behaviors, and to establish how personal characteristics such as age, gender and race/ethnicity affect this relationship.

Requirements: Individuals must complete HIPPA for researchers training, possess a high level of emotional maturity and have some familiarity with basic statistics and general psychology.

Time Commitment: 3-5 hours/week

Independent Study: Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Social Sciences - Making Health Data Available to Social Services
Principal Investigator: Rajeeb L Das

Develop health report cards for Alachua County and share with the community. Download public use data, link with our data, create maps of health indicators. Present findings to local social service agencies.

Requirements: Intro to GIS, computer programming, SAS, SQL, or databases.

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available