Study Abroad students' Poster Presentation Semester 2/ Spring 2017

Applications for the UCD Science Study Abroad programme Semester 2/ Spring 2018 open soon.

During Semester 2 2017, students from institutions across the United States, including the University of Notre Dame, Pennsylvania State University, Barnard College, and Tullane University, completed the "Introduction to Research" module (SCI-30010).

International - Group Poster Presentation 2017Study Abroad Students after their poster presentations

This module resulted in 22 placements in the UCD Schools of Biomolecular and Biomedical ScienceBiology and Environmental ScienceComputer ScienceChemistry, and Physics. Placements are also available in the UCD Schools of Mathematics & Statistics and Earth Sciences

"The students really enjoyed the experience and the standard of research was very high," says Dr Tadhg Ó Cróinín, Associate Dean for Study Abroad. "This module offers an opportunity for study abroad students to gain valuable experience in carrying out a research project in their chosen field and working closely with graduate students and postdoctoral scientists."

Students were placed in research labs that reflected their personal areas of interest where they spent 6-8 hours a week working in the lab on their own specific research project. Students wrote an essay on the methods they used during the project and how these techniques could be used to address other scientific questions. At the end of the semester students then presented their work in poster format at a symposium attended by academic staff where they had the opportunity to explain and defend their work.

 

Read below for some examples of Research Projects undertaken by UCD Science Study abroad students:

Alexander Smith, Pennsylvania State University, PA

Alexander carried out his project in the laboratory of Dr Patrick Caffrey, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Alexander studied the overproduction of polyene macrolide glycosyltransferases in Escherichia coli. Polyene macrolides such as amphotericin B are clinically vital anti-fungal compounds often found in Streptomyces species and are often glycosylated by glycosyltransferases. Expression of these glycosyltransferases in E. coli would further our ability to produce amphotericin B with improved pharmacological efficacy.

Claire Williams, Northeastern University, MA

Claire carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr Paul McCabe, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science. Claire studied the protective effect of Azadirachta indica extract on heat treated Arabidopsis thaliana and Lolium perenne. Azadirachta indica (the Neem tree) is indigenous to India and extracts have been utilized for thousands of years for medicinal and insecticidal properties. This project focused on the use of this extract to potentially protect other plants from heat damage.

Elizabeth Phipps, Tulane University, LA

Elizabeth carried out her project under the supervision of Dr Derek Greene, UCD School of Computer Science. Elizabeth used Data analytics to study tweets about the 2016 United States Election. Using Python Wordcloud and the Twitter text library the tweets were processed to obtain information about the text, users, mentions and hashtags. 

Fiona Potter, Brandeis University, MA

Fiona carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr Rainer Melzer, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science. Fiona set about creating vectors to silence HSP90 and SEPALLATA expression in Aradopsis thaliana using the CRISPR/Cas method. These genes are thought to code factors involved in the regulation of flower development.

Gregory Reilly, Pennsylvania State University, PA

Gregory carried out his project in the laboratory of Dr Breandan Kennedy, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Gregory studied the use of CRISPR-Cas9 to create a Zebra Fish knockout model of cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 3. The CRISPR gene editing technology allows researchers a new way to manipulate the genomes of organisms. By using this technology to create a mutant in the cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 3 gene a model can be created which can help study the disease diabetic retinopathy (diabetic eye disease).

Poster-Presentation-2017-1

Isabel Klein, Barnard College, NY

Isabel carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr Eoghan McGarrigle, UCD School of Chemistry, where she worked on the multistep synthesis of Ethyl-4,6-O-benzylidene-2,3-benzyl-1-thio-β-D-galactopyranose from β-D-galactopranose. Oligosaccharides are simple carbohydrates which can be utilized as biological probes or as candidates for pharmaceuticals.

Kerry Barrett, Providence College, RI

Kerry carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr. Kay Nolan, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, where she carried out a project investigating whether a mutation in the ndrg1 gene caused polyneuropathy in Siberian huskies. Using PCR and gene sequence analysis this study revealed that no mutations in this gene could be found in exon 2 of the ndrg1 gene suggesting that if a mutation is associated with the gene it must be found in one of the other exons of this gene.

Kristen Hlava, Purdue University, IN

Kristen carried out her project under the supervision of Dr Gianluca Pollastri, UCD School of Computer Science. With the increasing amount of biological data available due to advancements in genomic and proteomic technology it can be difficult to process. Kristen investigated the use of machine learning  technology to define protein structure by predicting the number of contacts between each amino acid.

Lucille Ptak, Wisconsin University, WI

Lucille carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr Gavin Stewart, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science where she used Western blotting to study the expression of the Aquaporin-3 membrane transport protein in the human bladder RT-4 cell line. Aquaporins are integral membrane proteins that serve in the transport of water in and out of cells and Aquaporin-3 has been implicated as playing an important role in human diseases such as muscle invasive bladder cancer.

Margaret Giitter, St Mary’s College Maryland, MD

Margaret carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr. Tasman Crowe, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science. Her project investigated the intertidal grazing patterns of common gastropod species on artificial and natural surfaces using radula markings. Results suggested that some species grazed more readily on smooth artificial surfaces than others suggesting that changes in environment could affect these species differently.

Poster-Presentation-2017-2 Maria Aranguren, University of Notre Dame, IN

Maria carried out her project under the supervision of Dr Aonghus Lawlor, UCD School of Computer Science, where she set about building a marathon race time predictor using a model that allows for learning from existing data. This model could be used to offer better predictions than common race predictors and to allow for more adequate goal setting.

Maya McCabe, Bowdoin College, MA

Maya carried out her project in the laboratory of Professor Lorraine O’Hanlon, UCD School of Physics, where she worked on the analysis of CaF2 glass ceramic scintillators for X-ray and Gamma Ray Astronomy. Gamma Ray radiation can reveal much about the cosmos including how supernovae and black holes are formed. Current scintillators used to record Gamma Ray radiation can be expensive and fragile and thus glass ceramics could provide a cheaper, more durable option.

Meredith Bemus, Endicott College, MA

Meredith carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr Margaret Worrell, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Meredith successfully subcloned the Serpin B3 gene from the pRSETC to pD444 vectors. The Serpin B3 gene encodes for a cysteine protease inhibitor associated with the human response to tumour cells and cloning the gene into the pD444 vector will allow for purification of the protein for future studies on cell metastasis.

Michelle Uminski, University of Scranton, PA

Michelle carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr Evelyn Doyle, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science,where she studied antibiotic resistance in soil microbes. Michelle detected ampicillin and kanamycin resistance in soil microbes found in samples from a variety of sources. Ampicillin resistance genes were identified but the identity of the genes providing kanamycin resistance could not be elucidated.

Olivia Later, Tulane University, LA

Olivia carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr. Jens Carlsson, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, where she analysed the genome of Nephrops Norvegicus commonly known as the Dublin Bay prawn. By studying microsatellites as biomarkers important information on the population genetics of these organisms can be discovered.

Paige Hunt, Marquette University, WI

Paige carried out her project in the laboratory of Professor William Gallagher, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Paige worked on the optimization of antibody targeting of the ATAD2 protein using Western blot for use as a potential biomarker of breast cancer. The ATAD2 gene is highly expressed in many cancers and high expression in breast cancer is a predictor of rapid mortality.

Poster-Presentation-2017-3 Reanna Chew, Northeastern University, MA

Reanna carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr Andrew Irving, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Reanna examined the effects of cannibidiol on Ca2+ release in HEK-293 cells. Cannibidiol has been revealed by many studies to have potential protective effects against psychosis, anxiety and epilepsy.

Sarah Chachula, George Washington University, DC

Sarah carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr James O’Sullivan, UCD School of Chemistry, where she worked on the synthesis and modification of mesoporous Al2O3 and TiO2. Mesoporous materials are frames with a cylindrical or cage like geometry characterized by pores in the range of 2-50nm. These can play roles as catalyst supports, absorbing agents and as drug delivery vehicles.

Seren Nurgen, Cornell University, NY

Seren carried out her project in the laboratory of Professor Jennifer McElwain, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science where she studied the structure and function of Epiphytic Bromeliad leaves. Epiphytic Bromeliads are specialist plants found in the canopy of trees. The aim of this project was to evaluate stoma and trichome densities on leaves which could be used as markers of climate change in future studies.

Stephanie Terrell, Haverford College, PA

Stephanie carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr Carl Ng, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, where she amplified deletion variants for gene knockout in the cyanobacteria Nostoc punctiforme. This organism forms nitrogen fixing symbioses with fungi and terrestrial plants. A greater understanding of the genome of this organism could aid future efforts to expand the host range for this important symbiant.

Victoria Roberts, St Mary’s College Maryland, MD

Victoria carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr. Jan-Robert Baars, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science where she carried out a project investigating which organisms contributed to the diet of Salmon and Trout in the Rye river, which is a spawning ground for these fish. Analysis of the gut content of these fish allowed for the identification of different aquatic and terrestrial species of microinvertabrates.

Zachary McTaggart, Rutgers University, NJ

Zachary carried out his project in the laboratory of Dr Niamh O’Sullivan, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Zachary investigated lipid droplet organization in a fruit fly model of Motor Neuron Disease. Zachary used confocal microscopy on the ventral nerve chord and axons of Fruit flies.