UF undergraduate biology students have the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with instructors through hands-on research.
Students are permitted and encouraged to conduct hands-on research at the undergraduate level, which can prove to be advantageous when applying to graduate schools. Below are some examples of current research projects.
Justin Rheubert, Instructor of Biology
Southwest research trip
The Rheubert lab, in collaboration with the Walker lab, took a trip in the summer of 2015 to collect amphibians and reptiles in Arkansas, Texas, and Arizona. This massive trip included visiting 10 different states and the collection of over 100 specimens that are being used for a variety of studies in both labs. Students gained hand on experience catching amphibians and reptiles (including rattlesnakes), learned REAL fieldwork, and learned to apply laboratory techniques in the field.
Lizard behavioral arena
Together (with the plans from Michael Wilder) students built a behavioral arena (which they have termed "the thunderdome") to test a variety of hypotheses concerning reproductive behaviors in Sceloporus undulatus. The data collected during these studies will utilize a variety of methods including behavioral assay analysis, geometric morphometrics, metric analyses, microscopy, and statistics. This is a large collaborative effort in the laboratory which everyone is involved in.
Dr. Henderson-Dean Lab
Bethany Henderson-Dean, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology and Chair of Natural Sciences Department
Water quality testing along the Blanchard River
Dr. Henderson-Dean's research involved testing water quality along nine testing sites along the Blanchard River. She and her students studied which parts of the region had the highest levels of phosphate, nitrogen and fecal coliform bacteria.
Dr. Edelbrock Lab
Michael Edelbrock, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Director of Laboratory Facilities
Screening fungal extracts for anti-cancer properties
Dr. Edelbrock and his students are screening fungal extracts for anti-cancer properties. Fungal spores are collected by classroom students and the metabolites extracted. Research students then use the extracts to test for DNA damage and cytotoxicity. There are several tests to determine these effects. Students work in teams and each group looks at a different aspect. Over 200 samples have been screened and nine were found to kill several types of cancer cells that are grown in the Davis lab. The hope is that the samples that show anti-cancer properties can be investigated further to determine the active ingredient.
Dr. Lu Lab
Xu Lu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology
Dr. Lu's research involves understanding the mechanistic effects of natural products (e.g., caffeine, bitter melon juice, etc.) on cellular division and cancer cells through the use of cellular and molecular techniques. Furthermore, his research interests also include epidemiology and the relationship between personal hygiene and susceptibility to infectious diseases.