Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Nanobioscience

Paluh Lab

Lab Website

The intersection of biology with manmade synthetics will drive improved medical therapies and nonmedical industrial applications. Understanding interfaces and communication networks at the nanoscale is critical to these goals. We are interested in harnessing biology towards three main areas of research, 1) Nanomotors, biological polymers and self-assembling and regulating machines, 2) stem cells and tissue engineering platforms for repair, replacement or biomimicry of human physiology, and 3) biosensing for toxin monitoring or in point of care medical applications. To study these complex areas we apply tools, materials and principles of nanotechnology, polymer engineering, biology/biochemistry and modeling. Students will have the opportunity to learn critical scientific thinking, experimental design and troubleshooting with a variety of experimental approaches and biological questions.

Xie Lab

Lab Website

We aim at applying nanotechnology to stem cell research in order to create stem cell-based platform for understanding adipogenesis and breast cancer. Recent studies have shown that the microenvironment influenced stem cell fate decisions. Using nanotechnology we are able to manipulate stem cell microenvironments and direct stem cell behaviors. Currently, we are investigating the stem cell-microenvironment interaction in an in vivo-like, 3-D setting. In particular, we are examining the role of biomaterials, surface chemistry, and bio-patterning in the maintenance and differentiation of embryonic stem cells. The students will perform biomaterials fabrication and characterization, stem cell culture, immunocytochemistry, Western blot analysis, PCR, optical and fluorescence microscopy, and spectrophotometry depending on the project assigned.

Sharfstein Lab

Lab Website

Our lab focuses on effects of culture conditions and cell physiology on growth, metabolism, and recombinant protein production from industrially relevant organisms (mammalian cells and bacteria). We apply the tools of modern biology including genomics, proteomics, genetic and metabolic engineering along with the engineering tools including bioreactor design and culture substrate design for optimization of production of recombinant proteins and sugars and tissue engineering applications. Projects include analysis of rapidly growing micro-organisms, understanding the effects of hyperosmotic stress on recombinant protein production, epigenetic analysis of industrial cell lines, and production of a bioengineered trabecular meshwork for testing of glaucoma therapeutics.

Melendez Lab

Lab Website

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are major contributors to numerous disease conditions including arthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, ischemia-reperfusion injury, nervous system disorders and the process of aging. Studies in the laboratory focus on how mitochondrial-derived ROS and antioxidant enzymes regulate signaling transduction cascades, gene expression, cell growth, proliferation and ultimately, pathogen infection, tumor growth and metastases. We utilize state-of-the-art cell, biochemical, microscopy and molecular methodologies to perform these studies. Our ultimate goal is to develop antioxidant-based therapies for the prevention and treatment of infection and cancer. We are also applying technologies available at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to develop nanodevices to assess cellular redox state, matrix destruction and perform high throughput screening. A Cadre of post-doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students and numerous outside collaborations are the foundation for these studies. Depending on the project the student will perform cell culture, western blot analysis, PCR, plasmid construction, immunofluorescence microscopy and a variety of spectroscopic techniques.

Bergkvist Lab

Lab Website

My research is cross-disciplinary and cover areas from nanoscale surface chemistry/surface engineering to "bionanofabrication." Bionanofabrication involve the use of biological systems to fabricate nanoscale structures, and take advantage of naturally occurring biological structures, such a two-dimensional self-assembled protein crystals and viral components, where the aim is to create multi-functional nanohybrid materials and structures from these scaffolds. We also work with nanoparticle science at the biological/chemical interface. We study nanoparticle synthesis on a fundamental level as well as how nanoparticle interacts with biological systems. Other areas of fundamental interest include biological problems such as self-assembly, cell/surface interactions and research in surface chemistry.

Begley Lab

Lab Website

Alkylating agents are a major class of chemotherapeutics used to induce apoptosis and treat cancers of the blood, brain and breast. The Begley laboratory studies the genetic determinants that modulate the effects of chemotherapeutic alkylating agents. We employ global systems biology based experiments, computational modeling and targeted molecular analysis of signaling pathways to gain insight into mechanisms of chemotherapeutic resistance.