Science is collaborative and projects within Davidson's Biology Department reflect this fact.

The following is an index of projects that involve Davidson Biology faculty members collaborating with other members of the Biology department, other departments at Davidson College and the local community. It includes projects where students and faculty are experimenting with innovative technology use in Davidson courses.

Each description includes the faculty members that are involved and, where appropriate, links to web sites containing more information. If you have questions about any of the projects please check out those web pages or contact the faculty members who are involved.

(Remember this is a listing of collaborative projects and projects whose goals include dissemination.A complete listing of the research of each faculty member can be found at Faculty Research Interests.)


Davidson Research Initiative
The Davidson Research Initiative is a program supporting collaborative research in any (every) discipline on campus. Spported by funds from the Duke Endowment, the DRI includes summer internship and group investigation components.

Duke-Davidson Immunology Program
Duke-Davidson Immunology Summer Program invites outstanding Davidson students to apply for a 10-week research internship in an immunology laboratory at Duke University. The program offers training in cutting edge immunology research . In addition, the selected students will be immersed in research laboratory culture and, with undergraduate fellows from other Duke summer research programs, participate in weekly research seminars and social hours, a workshop about how to apply successfully to graduate school, and a closing poster symposium. In addition to the Summer Internships the DDIP also sponsors 'field trips' between the two institutions and seminars.


Merck-AAAS Undergraduate Research Program in Biochemistry
Davidson Biology and Chemistry departments have been awarded a three year grant to support undergraduate research with an interdisciplinary approach. Each intern has a project involving biochemical questions and approaches and two research advisors (one in biology and one in chemistry). The Merck-AAAS grant supports four research interns each year. This support includes stipend and supply money for a ten week summer research internship, various social events throughout the summer, and financial support for interns to travel to scientific meetings to present their findings. In addition leading biochemists will be invited to campus both to meet with the interns and to present public lectures to the college community.

 

More Summer Research Opportunities:
Each summer Davidson undergraduates perform research with faculty members in the biology department. These paid internships are usually for ten weeks and are funded by Faculty Study and Research grants from Davidson College. Potential areas of research can be found on the Faculty Research Interests page. Since receiving a FS&R Grant requires competitive application by the faculty member it is a good idea for interested students to identify projects and contact those faculty members during the fall and early spring semesters.

Two Heads are Better than One: Merging Classical Embryology and Modern Developmental Biology:
This NSF CCLI grant provides matching funds to equip the developmental biology lab with dual headed stereomicroscopes, microinjection equipment, digital cameras, and image processing software. Students will use this equipment to execute original inquiry based laboratory projects in developmental biology and other courses. B. Lom

Microbial Diversity in Treeholes:
This collaboration involves microbiology and population ecology. The bacteria and fungi and other microorganisms in these treehole communities are important decomposers that, to date, have not been studied in great detail. Dr. Wessner is using t-rflp techniques to characterize the microbial diversity in treehole communities, and he and Dr. Paradise are characterizing the bacteria and fungi. Also, Dr. Paradise will examine the biomass of these components, and so that they can determine how diversity and biomass alter conditions and food availability to insects, or are affected by the varying conditions in the treeholes. Some previous work indicates that presence of certain species of insect larvae, for instance, can change the composition of the microbial community, and this may affect the processing of leaf detritus. C. Paradise and D. Wessner.

Genome Consortium for Active Teaching: GCAT
GCAT is an international consortium of faculty who teach undergraduates and want to bring genomics into their curriculum. Launched in the fall of 2000, approximately 400 students on 50 campuses have used DNA microarrays. Dr. Campbell is the founder and director of the consortium and his lab is the home of a DNA microarray reader that scans microarrays used by consotrium members. His lab is also developing its own software for data analysis. GCAT is supported in part by grants to Dr. Campbell from the Associated Colleges of the South and the NSF. M Campbell

Davidson Ecological Preserve:
The Davidson Ecological Preserve is another resources unique to Davidson College. Established in 2001 the preserve encompasses over 200 acres of land adjacent to campus. This land has been set aside for a number of research, teaching and recreational uses. Students are involved in a growing number of research projects including examining the effects of habitat fragmentation and urbanization on indicator amphibians and reptiles, development of temporary wetlands, and studies of other flora and fauna indeginous to this acreage. The preserve also contains trails for non-motorized traffic including walking, jogging, and biking. M. Dorcas and M Stanback

Maximizing Audience and Student-Perceived Relevance: Teaching Information Fluency in Introductory Biology Courses.
The types and amount of information available arecontinually increasing. Information Fluency involves developing the skills that allow all that information to be found, critically analyzed and synthesized. An Information Fluency Grant from the Associated Colleges of the South was awarded to K. Bernd (Biology), M. Muchane (Center for Instructional Technology), F. Molinek (Library) and V. Statler (Class of '03) to develop online modules for Introductory Biology that introduce information fluency skills helpful for biology majors. The modules are being developed and tested on Blackboard (only on-campus access). Please contact K. Bernd for more information. K. Bernd, M. Muchane, F. Molinek, and V. Statler

Isocitrate Dehydrogenase Is a Model Enzyme :
This project reflects a departmental approach using one enzyme and the gene that encodes it as examples in many different courses. Supporteed by an NSF-ILI grant, Dr. Campbell has created resources that allow the ubiquitous enzyme Isocitrate Dehydrogenase (IDH) to be used in many different courses. This approach allows students to apply the new perspectives and techniques of different courses to the study of IDH, its expression, localization, regulation and activity. M. Campbell

Central Carolina Amphibian and Reptile Initiative (CCARI):
CCARI an organization whose objectives include the conservation of amphibians and reptiles and their associated habitats. To meet this objective CCARI in involved in determining and mapping current and historical amphibian and reptile diversity and distribution, determining current species status, species distribution, and relative abundance and habitat requirements. CCARI also provides outreach to the community through 'Reptile Days'held at Davidson College and throughout the area. During these events the community is invited to see and hear about these animals and the important role they play in our ecosystem. Anyone can become involved with CCARI and more information is available at their website. M. Dorcas (Davidson Biology Department) is CCARI's director and Don Seriff (Conservation Science Specialist from Mecklenburg County Government's Division of Natural Resources) serves as its coordinator.

Development of DNA Sequencing and RNA Isolation and Detection Protocols for the Undergraduate Laboratory
Manipulation of DNA and RNA is common in research and industry but less common in undergraduate laboratory courses. DNA sequencing methods are, traditionally, time consuming and use radioactivity or very expensive equipment. RNA isolation is tricky and uses caustic chemicals. The North Carolina Biotechnology Center funded the efforts of Dr. Wessner, Dr. Bernd, Christine Larned ('01), John McKillop ('01), Liz Nugent ('02), and Shannon Riedley ('00) to develop non-radioactive, non caustic, and undergraduate lab-tested protocols for DNA sequencing and RNA isolation. The protocols have been used successfully in Cell Biology and Microbiology courses at Davidson since the Fall of 2000. Since then the RNA protocol has also been adopted by members of GCAT and other institutions. K. Bernd, D. Wessner

Immunology and Interactive Histology Web Pages:
Interactions between molecules are often difficult for students to visualize and histological slides can be difficult for the uninitiated to decipher. Dr. Campbell received an ACS- Mellon Technology fellowship to create Flash animations of molecular processes (Molecular Movies) and an inteactive histology site (Hyperlinked Human Histology) as a teaching aid and student resource. Both webpages provide a growing number of resources for use in Immunology courses and because they are used by instructors and students across the country the animations currently represent the 'highest hit' websites on the biology webserver.

Box Turtle Conservation
Box turtles are the only terrestrial turtle in North Carolina. having a terrestrial habitat makes them particularly vulnerable to the effects of urbanization and studies are in place at Davidson College to determine human impact on the turtle population. This project is truly a multifacetted collaboration as Dr. Dorcas invites all local residents to become involved. You can participate in the box turtle study by capturing and bringing local box turtles to the Watson life Science building where their vital measurements will be recorded and the turtle returned to its point of capture. More information on participating in the project or how the data is being used can be found at the website.

Imaging the Earth (Interdisciplinary course offered through Biology and Anthropology)
In Fall 2001 Micheal Dorcas (Biology) and William Ringle (Anthropology) offered a course basic techniques of spatial analysis and display as used in the life and social sciences. Students gained experience using GIS (Global Information Systems) and GPS (Global Positioning Systems) instrumentation and the ArcView program as they discussed the technology and researched and presented independent projects utilizing these techniques.

Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Davidson College is a leader in undergraduate genomics teaching and research. Malcolm Campbell is not only director of the Genome Consortium for Active Teaching, he and Laurie Heyer (Davidson Mathematics Department) have also co-authored "Discovering Genomics, Proteomics and BioInformatics", the only undergraduate text in genomics. Although the text has been available to the public since only September 2002, Davidson students have provided feedback throughout the development of this unique texbook through courses offered since 2001.

 

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