Study Abroad students' Poster Presentation Semester 1/ Fall 2017
During Semester 1 2017, students from institutions across the United States, including the University of Notre Dame, Pennsylvania State University, Colgate University, and Nankai University (China) completed the "Introduction to Research" module (SCI-30010).
Study Abroad Students after their poster presentations
This module resulted in 17 placements in the UCD Schools of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, Biology and Environmental Science, Chemistry and Physics. Placements are also available in the UCD Schools of Mathematics & Statistics, Computer Science, 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, adapted from the abstracts they prepared for their end of semester poster session:
Julia Dunbar, University of Notre Dame, USA
Julia conducted research in the laboratory of Assoc. Prof. John Crean, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Julia’s work focused on the development of a high efficiency and high throughput organoid formation protocol based on human-induced pluripotent stem cells that could be used in future renal organoid development research. The organoids were grown in Matrigel and the presence of specific markers verified the formation of renal organoids. The incorporation of magnetic nanoparticles in the Matrigel allowed for local non-destructive heating of the organoids.
Caylan Fazio, John Carroll University, USA
Caylan conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Emmanuel Reynaud, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Caylan’s research aimed to analyse and quantify how much information in a series of images can be recovered using stitching. Test images were divided in half with a defined overlap and reconstructed via stitching in the presence of simulated noise. Caylan showed that stitching can be successful in recovering hidden information in digital image sets, with applications ranging from satellite imaging to scientific field work.
Bessie Frias, Emory University, USA
Bessie conducted research in the laboratory of Prof. Liam Gallagher, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Bessie utilised a novel eleven-marker prognostic assay for early stage breast cancer, OncoMasTR, and optimised the western blot protein transfer time. A gel to membrane protein transfer of 10 minutes was found to be optimal for proteins in the OncoMasTR panel of molecular size 17-42 kDa.
Trinity Hamm, Penn State University, USA
Trinity conducted research in the laboratory of Assoc Prof. Fiona Doohan, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science. Trinity investigated the non-host resistance to Septoria tritici Blotch in Brachypodium distachyon and addressed underlying questions regarding the use of Brachypodium distachyon as a model pathosystem to elucidate plant defect mechanisms. This work may lead to improved yield and quality of wheat.
Colleen Lawlor, Franklin and Marshall College, USA
Colleen conducted research in the laboratory of Prof. Mary Kelly-Quinn, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science. Colleen analysed the effects of man-made weirs on three rivers and measured the abundance and extent of a comprehensive range of hydrogeomorphological features both upstream and downstream of the weirs. Differences, particularly in channel bed features, were found between upstream and downstream sections, improving our understanding of the effects of artificial human alterations on rivers.
Junlang Li, Nankai University, China
Junlang conducted research in the laboratory of Assoc. Prof. Brian Rodriguez, UCD School of Physics. Junlang performed cell proliferation studies on surfaces with different topographical and adhesion protein cues. These results will form the basis for further work investigating cell migration from organoids.
Yang Li, Nankai University, China
Yang conducted research under the direction of Assoc. Prof. Brian Rodriguez, UCD School of Physics and Assoc. Prof. Caroline Herron, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Yang investigated the effects of cannabidiol on amyloid aggregation and fibril formation by atomic force microscopy. The presence of cannabidiol caused beta amyloid derived diffusible ligands (bADDLs) to aggregate and may be related to the improved survival rate of nerve cells in the presence of cannabidiol and bADDLs compared to those treated with bADDLs alone.
Xin Luo, Nankai University, China
Xin conducted research in the laboratory of Prof. Jez Simpson, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science. Xin integrated plasmids into the genome of an osteosarcoma cell line (U2OS) and observed their expression by confocal microscopy. The generation of stably transfected U2OS cells will be useful in endomembrane imaging and in the production of fluorescent exosomes.
Timothy Maher, Wagner College, USA
Timothy conducted research in the laboratory of Prof. Gerladine Butler, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Timothy investigated the fungal diversity in Irish soil, using DNA sequencing to identify wild yeasts from the Irish environment. Such work will enable further understanding of the evolution of metabolisms and ecological lifestyles of Irish yeast.
Roslyn McCormack, University of Idaho, USA
Roslyn conducted research under the direction of Assoc. Prof Emma Sokell and Assoc. Prof. John Quinn, UCD School of Physics. Roslyn explored the use of spectroscopy to learn about the species of iron present in an iron target. Spectroscopy of the plasma created by shining a laser onto the target was performed as a function of laser intensity and compared to calibration standards.
Dang-Huy Nguyen, Northeastern University, USA
Dang-Huy conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Wieland Fricke, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science. Dang-Huy explored the effect of nitrogen deficiency on barley growth. Barley grown in nitrogen deficient environments were found to have reduced transpiration rates, larger root surfaces areas, and reduced pigmentation. Barley’s adaptive response to certain stressors allows it to adjust to the environment.
Theodora O'Leary, Emory University, USA
Theodora conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Wieland Fricke, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science. Theodora investigated the effect of low nitrogen on leaf and root surface area and transpiration rates of barley plants. Plants grown in low nitrogen environments had lower transpiration rate and leaf surface area and higher root surface area. Understanding the minimum nitrogen level for successful plant growth is a key factor for crop yield.
Cameron Pauly, Colgate University, USA
Cameron conducted research in the laboratory of Assoc. Prof. Grace Morgan, UCD School of Chemistry. Cameron synthesised gadolinium coordination complexes as potential MRI contrast agents to address issues relating to toxicity and stability of commonly used contrast agents.
Morgen Schupp, Hartwick College, USA
Morgen conducted research under the direction of Dr. Jens Carlsson, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and Dr. Emmanuel Reynaud, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science.
Morgen explored ideas of how to conduct DIY (do-it-yourself) science, taking discarded materials and upscaling it to functional lab equipment and investigating ways to harness sunlight as an energy source for experiments in the field.
Madison Smith, Northeastern University, USA
Madison conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Irving, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Madison investigated the signalling pathway of a novel cannabinoid receptor, GPR55, expressed in the central nervous system and peripheral tissue using GPR55-transfected Human embryonic kidney cells. Rho-associated protein kinase 2 staining was found to be effective for determining cells expressing GPR55.
Alexa Soares, Northeastern University, USA
Alexa conducted research in the laboratory of Prof. Breandán Kennedy, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Alexa conducted an in vivo assay to measure intersegmental vessel growth in zebrafish larvae to determine the effect of a novel anti-angiogenic drug, quininib, a cysteinyl-leukotriene receptor inhibitor. Quininib was found to significantly reduce the intersegmental vessel count in larvae. As excessive blood vessel growth is a hallmark in the development of several forms of cancer and age-related retinopathy, work in this area may lead to anti-angiogenic treatments.
Xinyang Xu, Nankai University, China
Xinyang conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Tadhg Ó'Cróinín, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Xinyang investigated the effect of DNA relaxation on the growth and survival of Campylobacter jejuni with reduced oxygen availability. Campylobacter jejuni is the most important cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide and the research has the potential to enhance food safety in vacuum-packed food products.