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Beloit Summer Biomedical Research Scholars Program

The Beloit College Biomedical Research Scholars Program is an 8-week program of mentored laboratory research for current Beloit College students. Biomed Scholars will receive a stipend, must enroll in one unit of Biology 392: Independent Research in Biology, and pay summer tuition for this course.  Scholars may contract with the college for room and board.  The stipend has been calculated to cover these costs.  The program will run during June and July.

To apply, students should

Application materials are due on March 20, 2014, for full consideration.

2014 Projects

Physiological stress response, Professor Katie Johnson

Humans and animals react to physiological and psychological stress through complex mechanisms involving the nervous and endocrine systems.  Student research projects will focus on the activation of the endocrine system, measured by changes in circulating hormones levels, in humans and animals in response to physical stressors, such as exercise.  Changes in hormone levels will be assessed through the collection of saliva, which will then be analyzed for cortisol and possibly other stress hormones.

Oxygen binding to hemoglobin, Professor Ted Gries

Using a tonometer, the biomedical scholar will test the hypothesis from the Monod-Wyman-Changeux (MWC) model for oxygen binding to hemoglobin that protein conformational changes are isolated to a single equilibrium constant and do not contribute to the individual oxygen site binding constants. While widely accepted, this component of the MWC model has not been experimentally verified. 

Molecular and bioinformatic investigations of plant disease resistance mechanisms, Professor Amy Briggs

Previous studies have shown the importance of folypolyglutamate synthetase (FPGS) enzymes in early plant developmental pathways, and preliminary bioinformatic studies indicate that this enzyme may also be essential for proper immune response activation. The Arabidopsis thaliana genome encodes multiple FPGS proteins, and so the project for this summer will involve genetic screening for double and triple knockouts of FPGS genes and the testing these of knockouts for dysfunctions in various plant immune responses (such as cell wall reinforcement and bacterial pathogen growth). This project will also include the bioinformatic analysis of global gene expression changes in plants undergoing a variety of immune stressors, in an attempt to identify novel mechanisms of transcriptional activation during plant defense responses.

The evolution of reproductive biology under different mating regimes, Professor Deanna Soper

Male competition at the organismal and cellular levels can generate intense selection for suites of reproductive traits. Reproductive behavior is important to the mating success of some males over others, particularly when competition for mates is high. In addition, some of the fastest evolving traits occur at the cellular level, as is shown by the wide diversity of sperm morphology. Here we will use the bean beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus, to examine how no male competition and intense male competition will influence mating behavior and sperm morphology. We expect that no competition will provide relaxed selection on these traits that may lead to the evolution of differences between the two mating regimes.  

Research opportunities in university labs may be possible

Placement of students in a research university lab may be possible depending upon applicant interests and availability of openings.  If you are interested in a university placement, contact Professor Yaffa Grossman at and describe your interests in  your application.