Student/Faculty Collaborative Research in Biology

CSB/SJU Biology Student Research Fellowships
Summer 2013

The summer research program in Biology offers students an opportunity to engage in scholarly work during the summer, working closely with faculty members in a professional environment. These positions are intended to provide students experience in biological research beyond the classroom, to continue the scholarly pursuits of our faculty, and to develop partnerships between them.

We will be  hiring 6 students this summer.  Applicants must be current CSB/SJU students. First and second year students and international students are especially encouraged to apply.

The Fellowships include wages for 10 weeks of full time work ($9.81/hr or $3,900 for the summer). Students also receive a room and board supplement ( approximately $1400) to cover the expenses of on-campus living. Students may also choose to live off campus.

Projects will run for 10 weeks and we expect that any other summer activities will not conflict with research duties.  All Biology Summer Research Fellows must attend Safety Training.

Applications are available here. Applications must be received by 4:00 p.m. on March 1, 2013.

Proposed projects for Summer 2013

These projects were designed by our faculty to engage students in novel investigations in a variety of fields.

Dr. Kristina Timmerman

The Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) is a nocturnally-active resident within the forests of our Arboretum. Few studies on this species have been carried out in Minnesota, so our initial goal is to document home range and activity.  Extensive hiking will be necessary and much of the work will be at night, as this is the time period that these animals are active.

Dr. David Mitchell

On the Hunt for Plant/Fungal Defense Proteins- Particular species of plants and fungi produce highly toxic proteins in various tissues to ward off tissue loss from herbivores/fungivores. These proteins typically interrupt ribosome function when ingested and are identified by their size, structure, and mechanisms of action. The goal for this project is to find, isolate, purify, and characterize these proteins from several different plants or fungi found locally or in the central region of the United States.

Dr. Bill Lamberts

This summer we will be exploring the wetlands and shallow lakes on campus, and the lower reaches of the North Fork of the Watab River. Work in the field will include mapping of wetlands and lakes, taking samples of lake and stream water and the organisms that live in them.  In lab we will analyze samples chemically and identify planktonic organisms microscopically.

 Dr. Katie Furniss

White Pine (Pinus strobusis) a non-native plant introduced to SJU lands in 1896. It is presumed that the founding population experienced a loss in genetic diversity, which may have negative impacts in the tree's ability to withstand stress. Our primary goal is to determine the genomic diversity of these trees here on campus.  Tree tissue samples will be collected and DNA will be extracted. Using PCR, we will sequence the genetic material to measure the genetic composition and diversity of the population.  

Carol Jansky: Gender Allocation in Tree Swallows

Sex biases within broods have been documented in many avian species including tree swallows, Tachycineta bicolor. A variety of maternal hormones have been implicated, but the precise mechanism of avian sex allocation is unknown. Aggressive behavior is linked with testosterone, one of the hormones implicated in avian sex allocation. During the summer of 2012 we investigated whether aggressive "personality" was correlated with brood sex ratio biases. We obtained intriguing but not yet significant results. This summer, we will continue this study. In addition, we will modify some of the testing techniques to investigate how habituation to stimuli moderates behavioral responses.