Genomics Research Initiative
Phage Genomics Research for Freshmen (6 credit hours, two semesters)
Culver-Stockton College has been awarded a Science Education Alliance grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). As a member of the Alliance, we will participate in a national experiment in both research and education that revolves around a research course in genomics for freshman students. Students will participate in an authentic research experience—integrated into a laboratorycourse—that will result in a significantcontribution to the broader genomics field.
In the two-semester course, students will:
- isolate bacterial viruses from our local soil
- prepare the virus DNA for sequencing
- annotate and compare the sequenced genome
- collaborate with other institutions in the SEA network
Fall 12-week session
BIO250 Phage Genomics Research I - 2 credit hours. The theory and practice of modern molecular methods. Students will isolate microorganisms from the environment, purify their genomic DNA and characterize them by electron microscopy and nucleic acid analysis.
Fall 3-week session
BIO251 Phage Genomics Research II - 1 credit hour. A continuation of the genome characterization project from Phage Genomics Research I genomics research. Students will prepare the isolated DNA samples for sequence analysis.
Spring 12-week session
BIO252 Phage Genomics Research III - 3 credit hours. Students will annotate the DNA sequence of the microorganisms. The genome and amino acid sequences will be compared to other microorganisms using computational methods and bioinformatics.
Upon completion of the course sequence the student will receive 3 hours credit toward the Natural Science component of the Common Experience requirement and 3 hours as an elective towards the major.
How to Apply
Students will submit an application describing why this program is of interest to them and how they would benefit from it. Both biology majors and nonmajors are eligible.
Freshman students are seldom given the opportunity to experience discovery research because of the resource-intensive nature of fundamental research. As a member of SEA, the biology department at Culver-Stockton can change the typical approach to undergraduate research. This nationwide endeavor would shift the research experience to an integrated part of the students' core curriculum. The SEA initiative includes a real research problem that can spark scientific curiosity in students and will allow freshmen to experience science research in a collaborative environment involving many different institutions around the country.
The results of the research will be meaningful. Participating students will see how their data may be used by other researchers in the SEA network—underscoring the collaborative nature of modern science.
Students will absorb the process of science as well as the critical thinking and communication skills that are keys for research careers. In addition, students will have ownership of their bacteriophage projects and may be captivated enough to seek other research opportunities as soon as they leave the class.