BIMS

Tag: capstone research

Senior Student Projects

by gwilson on Apr.22, 2009, under Projects, Students

posterfragEach Biology and BIMS major takes a senior capstone course in which they are tasked with conducting, analyzing, and reporting on a research project of their own design.  This spring, the Senior Biology students are presenting posters of their research projects on Monday, April 27th from 2:30 to 4:30pm.  The posters will be displayed on the wall outside of S115.

 There is a variety of projects ranging from ecological studies to projects focused on biomedical research.  Dr. D is overseeing projects that center on studies of cancer cell growth when treated with various supplements that advertise anti-cancer properties. 

 The following biomedical research projects will be presented by students for their finale reports:  

“Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on the MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cell Line”

“Effects of Resvesterol on the Human Breast Cancer Cell Line, MDA-MB-231”

“Effects of Green Tea Extract on the growth of MDA-MB-321, a Human Breast Cancer Cell Line with Invasive Properties”

The poster session will be held in the Finch-Gray Science Center on Monday, April 27th.  Please feel free to stop by at any time between 2:30-4:30pm, as the students will be available to discuss their projects and their findings.

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Final Frenzy

by gwilson on Apr.15, 2009, under A Day in the Life...

dilutions3We are nearing the end of the spring semester at McMurry, and every course is experiencing the “crunch” that comes from too much left to do and to little time left for its accomplishment.  The BIMS program being in its infancy, we have had to settle for minor successes in most every class.  Sorting through the problems and issues associated with implementing a new approach to teaching has left us a bit disappointed while also very encouraged.

The Chlamydomonas races our freshman students were working on will have to be modified somewhat.  Isolation of the organisms from natural sources, culturing them, their purification, and selection of the fastest strains was not as straightforward as we’d hoped.  Too much light here, too few nutrients there, and we end up refocusing the course on how best to grow the “wee beasties”.  The final projects in Microbiology have been compacted into only two weeks due to overruns in previous experiments done by the class (the growth curve experiment previously reported, among them).  No doubt there will be some excellent projects still (one survey of produce items for Salmonella shows some promising early results, and another focused on how tobacco products influence bacterial growth and mutation looks to be very well designed).  The cancer research being done in the senior capstone course has been toned down a bit due to problems with culturing the cancer cells (as chronicled previously).  As a result, the DNA sequencing that was planned may now be modified into a less ambitious project.

Are we disappointed?  Yes.  Are we discouraged?  No.  Like research itself, the establishment of a new program or protocol is frequently a learning experience where adaptations and modifications are the norm.  In spite of the setbacks, much is being learned.  Faculty are learning our strengths and limitations and are sure this time next year the results we report will be exciting and interesting.  Students have experienced the “high” that comes from putting ideas to the test to find truth about nature.  More than one has expressed greater excitement and interest in research as a future.  As one put it, “If you don’t stop making science so much fun, I may decide I don’t want to go to medical school afterall!”

The greatest discovery of all this semester has been that our discovery-based approach in a research-rich and skills-laden environment works to engage students and deliver courses effectively to eager and willing and excited students.  We are encouraged about the future of the program and its impact on our students.

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