BIMS

Tag: summer research

Honors Research

by gwilson on Apr.01, 2013, under Projects

CWB ChinaRock croppedRecently, three BIMS majors found out they will receive Bloomer and Beasley Research Fellowships for the coming year.  All three are students of Dr. Gary Wilson and will be pursuing different projects investigating Bacillus thuringiensis spore properties as they pursue Honors research and write their Honors theses in the next year.

The Charles and Lisa Bloomer Research Fellowship is awarded to support research of promising students in the School of Natural and Computational Science (SNCS).  This initiative of the Science and Math Advisory Board (SMAB) provides a research stipend for students as they work closely with McMurry faculty on a research project.  Dr. Bloomer is a successful oral surgeon in Abilene who has generously and regularly supported the sciences at his alma mater.  The biennial picnic the Bloomers host for SMAB members and SNCS faculty is a popular event building relationships and communicating the vision each holds for McMurry’s science future.  The Beasley Research Fellowship is a new program supporting student research in the biological sciences.  McMurry’s science alumni are spearheading an effort to create an endowment in memory of Dr. Clark Beasley, Distinguished Professor Emeritus from the Department of Biology who died this past summer.  This represents the first year this fellowship has been awarded.

Recipients of this year’s awards are Heather Rawls, Miranda Nguyen, and Nicole McGunegle.  Their projects will study wild type and genetically-engineered strains of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and Bacillus cereus (Bc) grown in rich and poor media.  Bt is a spore-former that produces an insecticidal toxin at the time of sporulation.  Bc is a commonly encountered and well-studied spore-former closely related to Bt but generally harmless.  The genetically-engineered strains include  Bt strains that do not form crystals and Bc strains that have been engineered to produce Bt crystals.  One project will look at how the presence or absence of the crystal in rich and poor media influences spore and crystal size and toxicity.  A second project will look at how growth conditions impact spore dormancy and the process of activation and germination.  It is possible an undiscovered variation of quorum sensing might be involved.  The third project will explore UV and chemical resistance of wild type and genetically-engineered strains produced in rich and poor media.  All projects fit the criteria for BIMS research:  a complete project doable in a short time frame, certain discovery no matter the experimental outcome, publishable work.

Stay tuned for updates on how this work is progressing!

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First BIMS Internship Winds Down

by gwilson on May.02, 2010, under Students

Gina poster 1One of the key elements of the BIMS program and its approach to giving students an  experience-rich education was the intent to have all students complete a capstone experience.  We felt many students would opt for on-campus projects with faculty but that some would take advantage of opportunities with summer research programs and biotech companies to apply their skills and knowledge in different settings.  With the resources of the TTU School of Pharmacy’s graduate program in Abilene and biotech firms like Receptor Logic settling in here, it was only a matter of time before a student would complete their capstone work at one of those two venues.  However, with a program only two years old, we felt it would be at least another year before this happened.  Biology major Gina Ortiz surprised us all by choosing a BIMS capstone experience and working with TTU School of Pharmacy scientists this spring.  She thereby becomes the first BIMS capstone student, and the first to complete the work in collaboration with an outside agency.

Ortiz, a Nevada resident, is headed for a career in medicine or biomedical research and used this experience to further hone in a direction to follow once she graduates this May – a year early.  Her work was done at the School of Pharmacy in the lab of Dr. Jon Weidanz with direct supervision from his doctoral student Bhavna Verma.  Her project was entitled “Biodistribution of RL4B TCRm antibody in mice models”.  In her work, Gina became proficient in conducting enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) to screen whether therapeutic T-cell receptor mimics (TCR-m) used for fighting cancer tumors might target and bind healthy mouse tissues.  Such information would be valuable in completing an overall picture of how TCR-mimics impact the biology of a patient when used in treatment.

Gina poster 3Gina explained her research on Friday, April 30th before a group of students and faculty.  Among them was McMurry’s president, Dr. John Russell, who was impressed by the quality of work and polish of her presentation.  On behalf of all in BIMS, congratulations Gina on a job well done!

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