Undergraduate Research Opportunities


Available Research Opportunities

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Biological Sciences

Investigating the anit-metastatic effect of new developed compounds (Dr. Jeane Silva)

Name: Dr. Jeane Silva
Email: 
jsilva@augusta.edu
Department:
 Med Lab, Imaging and Radiologic Science
Title:
  Investigating the anit-metastatic effect of new developed compounds 
Description:  

When a tumor cell becomes metastatic, it acquires many new abilities such as increase in motility, invasiveness and survival. These characteristics are associated with a dramatic ability to spread to vital organs decreasing cancer survival rate. The aim of this project is to investigate the inhibitory effect of breast cancer cell using in vitro cell-based assays and in vivo mouse model of tumor metastasis. The significance of this project is to allow us to advance our knowledge of tumor metastasis, which may lead to new therapeutic strategies to block cancer cell invasion and improve breast cancers patient’s survival. This project will give students the opportunity to learn in-vitro and in-vivo-based assays to quantify cell migration and invasion. The student will test these two compounds against the highly invasive human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231. We will determine and quantify cell migration and cell invasion using the wound healing and transmembrane/Boyden Chamber assays as previously described (Teng et al., 2016), respectively. To further address the specificity of our key compounds, the student will test for their inhibitory activity against MDA-MB-231 ability to form liver and lungs organotropic clones.

The student will be integrated into a multi-disciplinary cancer research team in the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University and will be benefit from mentorship and training from other members of our lab within a collaborative and supportive environment. It is important to emphasize that; there will be a close collaboration with the Georgia Cancer Center research members and core laboratories such as the Genomics and Proteomics Laboratories. Therefore, the student will be training in molecular and cell biology techniques, cell-based assays, immunohistochemistry techniques, and hands-on experience in NSG MDA-MB-231 xenograft tumors.

Student Learning Outcome

On the completion of the project, students are expected to have attained:

  • Knowledge of cancer cell biology and cancer therapeutics
  • Experimental skills in molecular and cell biology, genetics and proteomics techniques
  • Ability to define a scientific project
  • Ability to do a literature review, read and process relevant information
  • Scientific writing, presenting and communication skills

 STUDENT QUALIFICATIONS: 
Students must be enrolled in Biological or Clinical Laboratory Sciences Programs

Academic knowledge of molecular and cell biology

Strong interest in Cancer Research

High level of responsibility and fast-learning traits

Good communication skills

Congenital Heart Disease (Dr. Huabo Su)

Name: Huabo Su
Email: hsu@augusta.edu
Department: Vascular Biology Center
Title: CHD birth defect and cardiac development
Description: Congenital heart disease (CHD) remains the most common birth defect worldwide, affecting ~ 1% of live births, and arises, at least in part, from defects in cardiovascular development. NEDD8 is a novel ubiquitin-like protein that modifies protein targets in a process similar to ubiquitination (termed “neddylation”), and is mediated by NEDD8-specific E1, E2 and E3 enzymes. Though neddylation participates in diverse cellular processes (cell growth, viability, adipogensis, etc) and pathophysiological events (tumorigenesis, etc.), the importance of neddylation in cardiovascular development remains unknown. In order to study this, we have developed an NAE1 flox/flox mouse, enabling deletion of the only NEDD8 E1 enzyme, and thus inhibition of neddylation, in various tissues. We have several different Cre strains, including aMHC, SM22a, and Nkx2-5, allowing us to study cardiac-specific deletion of NAE1 during different developmental stages in the heart. Preliminary data has shown that aMHC-Cre driven NAE1 deletion leads to perinatal death and defects in ventricular chamber maturation, with a phenotype resembling left ventricular noncompaction, an increasingly recognized primary cardiomyopathy. We will use the many cellular and molecular biology techniques and biochemical assays at our disposal to 1) identify novel signaling pathways regulated by neddylation during cardiac development, and 2) tease apart the underlying mechanisms behind how these pathways contribute to cardiac disease.

Student Task/Qualifications:  No prior experience necessary. Curiosity, desire to learn, and a good work ethic greatly appreciated. Main student responsibilities would include animal handling, management and maintenance of mouse colonies, genotyping, RNA isolation, biochemical assays, tissue sectioning and staining, etc. Publication is expected. Faculty webpage: http://www.augusta.edu/centers/vbc/su.php

Vascular Cognitive Impairment (M B Khan)

Name:  Professor M B Khan   Office:  CA1012 
Email: mkhan@augusta.edu                   
Department: Neurology

Background and Purpose: Vascular dysfunction and resultant chronic cerebral hypoperfusion leads to vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), the second most common cause of dementia. We reported that Remote Ischemic conditioning (RIC)-therapy improves cerebral blood flow (CBF) in both murine stroke and VCI models. RIC is a non-invasive, simple, inexpensive, and safe use of repetitive inflation of a blood pressure (BP) cuff on the arm or leg to protect distant organs such as the brain from ischemic injury.  We have some preliminary data after Bilateral Carotid Artery Stenosis (BCAS) in the mouse (model of VCI) that daily remote ischemic postcondtioning (RIPostC) using a BP cuff for 2 weeks increases CBF in a sustained manner, improves cognitive performance, and decreases aggregation of amyloid-beta 42 protein (Aβ42) in the brain. Our central hypothesis is that RIPostC therapy after BCAS improves cognitive function in animal model of vascular cognitive impairment (VCI).  

Our specific aims are:

Aim 1: Determine if RIPostC therapy after BCAS attenuate hippocampal CA1 neuron integrity. It is well understood that spatial learning and memory is a hippocampal dependent phenomena and pyramidal neuron in the hippocampal CA1 field. 

Aim 2: Determine if RIPostC therapy after BCAS protects axonal damage. Aggregation of tau is a well-known causative agent for neurodegeneration and pathological symptom that leads to learning and memory loss in early dementia.

Aims 3: Determine if RIPostC therapy after BCAS improves synaptic maker protein in hippocampal CA1 field. 

 Methods: Microcoil induced bilateral common carotid artery (BCAS) model will be used to induce chronic hypoperfusion. Adult C57BL/6J male mice of (10-12 weeks) will be assigned to 3-different groups (N=10), and subjected to Sham- (procedures of BCAS and RIC), BCAS- (induced VCI followed by RIC-Sham), and BCAS+RIC (induced VCI followed by RIC-therapy). RIC will started 1 week of post-surgery for 3-4wks. At 4-5 weeks post-surgery (1-wk after the cessation of RIC) CBF will be determined using laser speckle contrast imager (LSCI). Functional outcomes will be assessed using novel object recognition (NOR) test for non-spatial working memory, and hanging wire test for motor impairment. Histopathology and immunohistochemistry for BDNF and VGEF. Biochemistry will be also performed on the of the brain tissue collected after the neurobehavioral tests.

STUDENT TASKS AND QUALIFICATIONS NEEDED: 

  • Minimum of 6 months commitment.
  • At least 5-6 hours per day (Monday –Friday)
  • Some time they need to work all day as we do in the lab (Exception for class hour /course work).
  • Trainings required: Chemical Safety, Biosafety, Animal safety, etc. (We will manage about these training procedure through concern office).
  • We will trained him/her with different lab techniques (if required) and make them independent before starting new experiment by themselves.
  • Their contribution cannot be ignore when published the paper. We will give authorship in the publications.
  • They can share their idea and hypothesis in the w

Oral Biology (Dr. Amany Tawfik)

Name:  Dr. Amany Tawfik   Office location: CB2404F
Email: amtawfik@augusta.edu

Department:
Oral Biology

Description:  I have 2 projects going on in my lab

  • Studying the effect and mechanism of excess amino acid homocysteine on the retinal blood barrier in retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age related macular degeneration. We already published the effect of increased homocysteine on the retinal blood barrier and now we are studying the underlying possible mechanisms.
  • Studying the effect of excess amino acid homocysteine on bone growth and development, using micro-CT scanning, pathological evaluation of bones of the mice with increased homocysteine as well as some inverto experiment to evaluate bone cells treated with excess homocysteine for the cell viability, death and differentiation.

STUDENT TASKS AND QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Most important is the motivation and enthusiasm to learn and be involved in research and the ability to present the research data.
  • To give enough time  and commitment  to learn and do research.

Cell Biology (Tiana Curry-McCoy)

Name: Tiana Curry-McCoy
Email: tcurrymccoy@augusta.edu
Department: Medical Laboratory, Imaging and Radiological Sciences
Title: Cell Biology
Description: Genetic and protein analysis of cellular alteration by alcohol and/or obese treatment.

Student Task/Qualifications:  Science major with a Biology course completed.  Student will need the ability to work independently and commit to 5-10 hours per week to assist with research.  Student will also be working with graduate students. Good writing skills are helpful. Resume required.

Infectious Diseases, MCG (Safia Siddiqui, MD Candidate)

Name: Safia Siddiqui
Email: sasiddiqui@augusta.edu
Department: 
Infectious Diseases.  Working under Dr. Stephanie Baer, Assistant Professor of Medicine.

Title:  Comparative analysis of sterilization techniques on pathogen colonization of privacy curtains in the Spinal Cord Injury Unit (SCIU)

Description:  Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) is a serious national problem for patients and providers. Augusta University has had HAI rates above the national average for the last 3 years, highlighting the need for intervention. Privacy curtains, often overlooked as carriers of pathogens, are frequently handled by healthcare professionals as well as patients and are rarely included in routine cleaning cycles. This is a 2 phase project with the initial goal of (1) establishing the presence of pathogens that cause common HAIs on privacy curtains within the SCIU and (2) comparing the efficacy, compliance, and cost-effectiveness of disinfection methods that minimize identified pathogens. We are looking for an undergraduate student to help with the identification of ‘leading edge’ or high throughput regions of privacy curtains by direct observation. Potential follow-up work would include swabbing of the identified high-throughput regions and culturing of pathogens (microbiology lab work). 

STUDENT TASKS AND QUALIFICATIONS:  We are looking for a highly motivated student with a genuine curiosity & interest to be part of an innovative project. Student has to be an astute observer, focused, and have attention to detail. Student will gain exposure to the VA hospital and an infectious disease project which is useful for those on the pre-medicine track. Prior microbiology research experience is a bonus.

Molecular Pharmacology (Nevin Lambert)

Name: Nevin Lambert
Email: nelambert@augusta.edu
Department: Pharmacology and Toxicology
Title: Molecular Pharmacology
Description: Investigation of membrane receptor properties with live-cell spectroscopy and microscopy.

Molecular Genetics/Genome Stability/Population Genetics (Amy Abdulovic-Cui)

Name: Amy Abdulovic-Cui
Email: aabduloviccui@augusta.edu
Department: Biology
Title: Molecular Genetics/Genome Stability/Population Genetics
Description: Role of Hob1 protein in DNA repair and genomic stability; Genetic requirements of microsatellite instability during DNA replication; Investigating of the role of unbalanced dNTP pools on DNA mutations and DNA stability; Genetic diversity of multiple crab species along the Georgia and South Carolina coast.

 

Project 2:  Collaboration with Dr. Christy

Description:  Researching plants and their ability to protect themselves from fungi.  

Qualifications:  Student must have completed BIOL 1108 prior to joining.

Molecular Microbiology (Christopher Bates)

Name: Christopher Bates
Email:
cbates1@augusta.edu
Department:
Biology
Title:
Molecular Microbiology
Description: Nutrient Acquisition by bacteria; E. coli as a Biomarker of Human & Animal Fecal Contamination in Streams & Rivers; Bacterial Physiology and Identification, Antibiotic Resistance

Cell Physiology/Reproductive Physiology (Jennifer Cannon)

Name: Jennifer Cannon
Email:
jcannon3@augusta.edu
Department:
Biology
Title:
Cell Physiology/Reproductive Physiology
Description:
Effect of endocrine disruptors on mLTC-1 Leydig cells

Herpetology/Wetland Ecology (Brandon Cromer)

Name: Brandon Cromer
Email:
rcromer@augusta.edu
Department:
Biology
Title:
Herpetology/Wetland Ecology
Description:
A census of frog populations of aquatic habitats in South Carolina; Aquatic turtle species composition, population evaluation, and environmental toxicology

Fish & Wildlife Management/Marine & Wildlife Ecology (Bruce Saul)

Name: Bruce Saul
Email: bsaul@augusta.edu
Department: Biology
RESEARCH #1: Fish & Wildlife Management/Marine & Wildlife Ecology
Description: Monitoring of deer and wild hog populations along the Savannah River; Monitoring the diversity of fish species in local streams and assessing barrier island fish communities around St. Catherines Island, Georgia

RESEARCH #2: Categorization of Ichthyofauna around St. Catherines Island, GA
Description:  MOnthly collections of fishes via seining, trawling, and gill netting.  Maintain a database for east coast researchers and the American Museum of Natural HIstory.

Student tasks:  Maintain database and occasionally accompany collection crew to the island on a monthly collection trip (Fri, Sat, Sun).  Students need ability to work independently, competency with EXCEL, swimming proficiency, capability to pull heavy seine, and people skills.

Marine & Freshwater Population/Community Ecology (Jessica Reichmuth)

Name: Jessica Reichmuth
Email:
jreichmu@augusta.edu
Department:
Biology
Title:
Marine & Freshwater Population/Community Ecology
Description:
Oceanic fish diversity among barrier islands along the Georgia-lina coasts; Diel variation in fish communities on a Georgia barrier island; Differences in tidal creek and oceanic fish diversity on a Georgia barrier island; Snail densities and movement in tidal salt marshes in South Carolina and Georgia barrier islands; Snail plant preference in tidal salt marshes in South Carolina and Georgia barrier islands; Macroinvertebrate diversity in Butler Creek as an indicator of stream health; Assessing man-made cuts on estuarine systems in Georgia; Biofilm diversity on marine organisms

Microbial Ecology/Entomology (Cathy Tugmon)

Name: Cathy Tugmon
Email:
ctugmon@augusta.edu
Department:
Biological Sciences
Title:
Microbial Ecology/Entomology
Description:
Goal is to create a data base for bacteria found on spiders by spider genera, environment, type of spider: hunter vs orb weaver. 2nd Goal is to determine antibiotic sensitivity of all the bacteria isolated. Aseptic techniques used with bacteria, spider collection and preservation, Gram staining, and biochemical tests
Student Tasks/Qualifications:
Commitment to show up on time and be committed to the project

General Ecology/Urban Ecology (Donna Wear)

Name: Donna Wear
Email:
dwear@augusta.edu
Department:
Biology
Title:
General Ecology/Urban Ecology
Description:
Recovery of the endangered Shoals Spider Lily; The endangered gopher tortoise and its habitat: tracking, monitoring, and management; Effects of pollution on reproductive physiology of fish

Toxicology (Faith Wiley)

Name: Faith Wiley
Email:
fwiley@augusta.edu
Department:
Biology
Title:
Toxicology
Description:
Study of the chemical and biological properties of the toxin responsible for avian vacuolar myelinopathy.

Cryopreservation of Zebrafish Oocytes by an Interdisciplinary Approach (Ali Eroglu)

Name: Ali Eroglu
Email: aeroglu@augusta.edu
Department: Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine
Title: Regenerative Medicine and Cryobiology
Description: We have ongoing projects to develop defined methods for isolation and cryobanking of human stem cells, as well as for cryopreservation of zebrafish eggs and embryos.

Student Tasks and Qualifications Needed: Highly motivated students will be trained and carry out experiments along with a postdoctoral associate and a research assistant.

Factors Affecting the Distribution of Cyanobacteria (Michael Murray)

Name: Michael Murray
Email: mimurray@augusta.edu
Department: Biological Sciences
Title: Factors Affecting the Distribution of Cyanobacteria in Fresh Water
Description: This project is part of a regional sampling project for harmful algal blooms led by Dr. Alan Wilson at Auburn University, with a goal of better understanding factors affecting the distribution of cyanobacteria in fresh waters in the region. Several sampling trips will be carried out in the early fall (2014), and a literature review will help inform next steps.

Student Tasks and Qualifications Needed: At least one course in introductory biology (e.g. Biol 1101, 1102, or 1107) and/or chemistry (e.g. Chem 1000, 1100, 1151,1211) preferred. Some outdoor experience (e.g. via camp), interest, and ability to work on a small boat needed.

Vitamin D & Wound Healing in the Eye (Mitchell Watsky)

Name: Mitchell Watsky
Email: mwatsky@augusta.edu
Department: Cellular Biology and Anatomy
Title: Vitamin D and Wound Healing in the Eye
Description: Vitamin D is traditionally thought to be activated by sunlight striking the skin. Our lab has discovered that sunlight can also activate vitamin D in the eye, and we are now exploring how it benefits wound healing in, and normal physiology of the cornea, which is the outer transparent tissue in the front of the eye. A scarred cornea blocks light from entering the eye and results in reduced vision or even blindness. We use cell culture and mouse models of wound healing to discover how vitamin D benefits the cornea.

Student Tasks and Qualifications Needed: Preference is given to students in the BS-MD program. A student in my lab will be working primarily with cultured cells. She or he will learn to culture cells in a sterile environment and collect protein and RNA/DNA from the cells. The student will also work with advanced microscopy and image analysis methodology. She or he will be trained on the job (so to speak). She or he needs to be able to commit defined hours to be in the lab, should be patient, and prepared to perform repetitive tasks (hallmarks of any laboratory work), and needs to be a quick learner. In order to perform cell culture and pipetting, she or he will need steady hands. Computer skills will also be helpful, but not necessary. My expectations are that the CURS student will become a productive member of my laboratory team.

Breast Cancer, Cell Signalinjg, and Autophagy (Patricia Schoenlein)

Name: Patricia Schoenlein
Email: pschoenl@augusta.edu
Department: Cellular Biology and Anatomy
Title: Breast Cancer, Cell Signaling, and Autophagy
Description: Breast cancer research, mechanisms underlying resistance to chemotherapy agents, such as autophagy, a response of cells under stress in which they 'eat' there own organelles and recycle them into new components.

Student Tasks and Qualifications Needed: I am interested in a student who is interest in conducting research in the cancer biology area. Any committed student is fine. Fifteen hours a week minimum and prefer they do it as a course, but volunteer basis would work also. The project in general would be to characterize the underlying antiestrogen resistance mechanism in a novel antiestrogen resistant cell line selected in my laboratory and would involve drug studies, western blotting, immunocytochemistry, and possibly tissue culture.

Microenvironment & Growth Factors in Development (Ellen LeMosy)

Name: Ellen LeMosy
Email: elemosy@augusta.edu
Department: Cellular Biology and Anatomy
Title: Microenvironment and Growth Factors in Development 
Description: How does the embryo develop? We study how the early pattern is determined, and how the craniofacial skeleton and kidney are later formed. We use zebrafish and fruitfly models to examine development relevant to human birth defects like cleft palate and polycystic kidney disease. We use confocal microscopy, molecular genetics, and gene knockdown methods. 

Student Tasks and Qualifications Needed: Student willing to commit defined hours (10-15 hr/week preferred), responsible, able to work independently after training and discussion of experiments; attention to detail and good eye-hand coordination are key. Hard work and enthusiasm expected! Taking as course for credit best option; possibly paid in summer if performance quality is known and funds permit. Faculty mentor gives direct supervision with assistance from a research associate.

Student tasks and projects could include: behavioral and microscopy studies of fly sensory neurons, cell culture, tissue staining of zebrafish embryos for renal or craniofacial studies, preparing media and solutions. Literature search, experiment planning will be taught. Past successful students have been co-authors on papers and presented work at science conferences.

Oral Biology & Anti-Cancer Strategies (Yong Teng)

Name: Yong Teng
Email: yteng@augusta.edu
Department: Oral Biology
Title: N/A

Description: AAA domain containing 3A (ATAD3A) is an integral mitochondrial membrane protein with unknown function. Our preliminary data have now made it possible to address the precise molecular mechanisms behind ATAD3A-induced chemo-resistance in head and neck cancer. Therefore, targeting this mitochondrial protein may augment the efficacy of chemotherapy. We will dissect the novel molecular mechanism underlying ATAD3A-mediated chemo resistance in well-established head and neck cancer cells and determine the effect of ATAD3A inhibitors using animal models. Successful completion of the proposed studies will have a significant impact in the treatment and survival of patients with head and neck cancer, and will provide a new molecular target to inhibit chemo-resistance.

Student tasks/Qualifications:  
1. Molecular, biology, or medical background
2. Strong self-motivation  3. Excellent written and interpersonal communication skills

Faculty website

We are engaged in developing new anti-cancer strategies and ATAD3A is one of the cancer targets that inactivation of it will prevent cancer cell survive. We aim to build a top research team in this field. These studies are expected to be published in the high ranking journals in cancer research field.

Role of Adipose-Specific HDAC9 in Metabolic Disease & Atheroschlerosis (Dr. Neal Weintraub)

Name: Dr. Neal Weintraub
Email: nweintraub@augusta.edu
Department: Vascular Biology Center (CB3301)
Title: Role of Adipose-Specific HDAC9 in Metabolic Disease and Atherosclerosis

Description: Our preliminary data demonstrate that HDAC9 knockout mice exhibit improvements in insulin sensitivity and are protected against TNFα-induced adhesion molecule expression and leukocyte adhesion to the blood vessel wall, suggesting favorable influences on development of atherosclerosis. Recent publications demonstrate that HDAC9 gene deletion attenuates atherosclerosis in LDLr knockout mice, but the mechanisms remain to be established. We hypothesize that expression of HDAC9 in adipocytes plays a key role in atherosclerosis during DIO through systemic metabolic effects (i.e., modulating insulin sensitivity).
We have constructed a HDAC9 flox/flox mouse, which has been bred with the adiponectin-Cre mouse in order to create adipocyte-specific HDAC9 knockout mice. We are breeding these mice into the LDLr knockout background and will feed them an atherogenic diet, examining metabolic parameters in conjunction with atherosclerosis quantification and histology to detect inflammatory cells. Metabolic status (including body composition, whole-body metabolic testing, glucose/insulin tolerance testing, etc.) will also be performed. 

Student Tasks and Qualifications Needed:  No prior experience needed. Students will gain experience in laboratory work such as genotyping procedures/management of mice colony, RNA extraction, biochemical assays, etc. Students must be self-motivated and willing to commit approximately 6-8 hrs per week to lab work.

Publication is expected - Journal selection will depend on the experimental findings, but likely candidate journals include Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Circulation, and Diabetes.

Faculty page  

Developmental Gene Discovery Project (Dr. Hyung-Goo Kim)

Name: Dr. Hyung-Goo Kim
Email: hkim@augusta.edu or Marvin Harris (assistant) mharris3@augusta.edu  
Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology
Title: Developmental Gene Discovery Project

Description: Undergraduate researchers will be responsible for maintaining cell cultures, extracting DNA/RNA/etc., processing blood and/or saliva samples, performing protein analysis, creating and maintaining databases, performing western blots, and a wide, wide variety of tasks related to genetics research. Research will be hands on and comparable in exposure to what a researcher with a BS in Genetics would be exposed to. Additionally, researchers may be exposed to international collaborators, grant writing, novel research techniques, and advanced topics in genetics. Exceptional undergraduate researchers may be rewarded by having their name added to a paper published in peer-reviewed journals as a co-author. 

Student Tasks and Qualifications Needed:  Ability to commit to 15 hours per week at minimum for one semester. Many of the techniques introduced to undergraduate researchers will take weeks to master, and this training requirement makes us unable to take on students who cannot meet this requirement. Students failing to maintain 15 hours per week (with accommodations made for holidays and exam schedules) will receive no credit. The expenses associated with training in this lab are simply too great for us to accommodate students who cannot commit to 15 hours per week for at least one semester. Weekend hours are available.

3.3 GPA minimum, exceptions require a letter of recommendation from a member of the biology department and a 3.0 GPA. 

Preference will be given to a) biology majors (especially geneticists), b) students with exceptional GPAs/Honors Program students, c) students interested in committing to more than one semester, and d) pre-med students - particularly those looking to apply to the MD/PhD program (which requires research hours). php 

 

Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute

Various (Hegde, Jay)

Name: Jay Hegde
Department: Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute, Culver Vision Discovery Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, and The Graduate School.
Email: jhegde@augusta.edu
Phone:706-721-5129
Description: Research projects for undergraduate students as of 8/2016.

The overall goal of our research is to help understand how the brain works, use the principles of brain function to devise rehabilitative treatments for various forms of brain dysfunction and disorder, and to help develop algorithms and programs for machine learning and data mining.  All of our various diverse, multidisciplinary research projects are motivated by this overall goal. For detailed description of our research and publications, please visit our laboratory website at www.hegde.us.

 There are a large number of projects available in my laboratory. These include, but are not limited to:

 (1) Hand-on research experience in research on human visual perception, human multisensory (i.e., cross-modal perception) that use a variety of research techniques, including human psychophysics (i.e., behavioral studies), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), video eye-tracking, etc.

 (2) Hands-on experience in computer programming, machine learning, and data science and computer science.

 (3) Hands-on research experience in electronic engineering, laboratory instrumentation, and hardware interfacing.

  (4) Analysis of existing data sets functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), eye-tracking, or electroencephalography (EEG) data.

 (5) Creation of large databases of visual objects, and objects for multisensory research.

 Student Tasks and Qualifications:   Some familiarity with computer programming (e.g., at least one semester’s worth of previous course work that involved programming in Matlab, C, or any C-likelanguage) is required.

 

Business

CRII:SHF: A New Foundation for Attack Trees Based on Monoidal Categories (Harley Eades)

Name: Harley Eades
Department: Computer Science (HCOB)
Email: heades@augusta.edu
Phone: 706-667-4543
Description: Attack trees are a modeling tool used to assess the threat potential of a security critical system. They have been used to analyze the threat potential of the cybersecurity of power grids, wireless networks, and many others. Attack trees for real-world security scenarios can grow to be quite complex and manipulating such large and complex trees without a formal semantics can be dangerous. The intellectual merits of the research are twofold: 1) It develops, using the power of linear logic and category theory, a new mathematical semantics of attack trees that is more general than existing models; 2) It designs a new domain-specific programming language for conducting threat analysis using attack trees. The language is specifically designed for not only the construction and manipulation of attack trees, but also for the ability to verify properties of attack trees. The project's broader significance and importance are improvement of security and reliability of software, training of a diverse group of undergraduate students at Augusta University in principles of programming languages and security, and exposing them to research.

The project's first step is to give attack trees a categorical semantics in symmetric monoidal categories. Then based on this semantics, and the connection between linear logic and symmetric monoidal categories, the project develops a new
statically-typed linear functional programming language called Lina (Linear Threat Analysis). Types in Lina correspond to attack trees, and programs between attack trees correspond to semantically valid transformations of attack trees. Therefore, designing and manipulating complex attack trees in Lina provides a higher confidence that the resulting analysis is correct.

 Student Tasks and Qualifications: 

The student should have the following qualifications:

  • Enrolled as a computer science major
  • Have taken the following courses:
      • CSCI:3400 Data Structures
      • CSCI:3030 Mathematical Structures in CS
      • CSCI:3300 Programming Language Concepts

Optional Qualifications:

  • Interested in web development
  • Interested in applications of logic in computer science

Various (Dr. Manisha Mathur)

Name: Dr. Manisha Mathur
Department: Management & Marketing
Email: mmathur@augusta.edu
Phone:706-737-1455
Description: The goal of this research project is to empirically investigate social media marketing to demonstrate the marketing potential of social media in improving firm stock returns. The social media phenomenon has created novel challenges as well as opportunities for marketers. The social media marketing literature is still developing and current insights are mostly qualitative in nature. This research project will include in-depth literature review in the field of social media marketing, collection of data through online surveys of consumers, and statistical analyses. This research project aims at to engage an undergraduate student in quality, systematic research and provide the student with an opportunity to understand and apply marketing research methodology.

Student Tasks and Qualifications:  This research requires the student to have an understanding of marketing. The undergraduate student will perform literature review on social media marketing, design questionnaire, and collect data from social media websites and surveys.

 

Cancer Center

 

Investigating the anit-metastatic effect of new developed compounds (Dr. Jeane Silva)

Name: Dr. Jeane Silva
Email: 
jsilva@augusta.edu
Department:
 Med Lab, Imaging and Radiologic Science
Title:
  Investigating the anit-metastatic effect of new developed compounds 
Description:  

When a tumor cell becomes metastatic, it acquires many new abilities such as increase in motility, invasiveness and survival. These characteristics are associated with a dramatic ability to spread to vital organs decreasing cancer survival rate. The aim of this project is to investigate the inhibitory effect of breast cancer cell using in vitro cell-based assays and in vivo mouse model of tumor metastasis. The significance of this project is to allow us to advance our knowledge of tumor metastasis, which may lead to new therapeutic strategies to block cancer cell invasion and improve breast cancers patient’s survival. This project will give students the opportunity to learn in-vitro and in-vivo-based assays to quantify cell migration and invasion. The student will test these two compounds against the highly invasive human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231. We will determine and quantify cell migration and cell invasion using the wound healing and transmembrane/Boyden Chamber assays as previously described (Teng et al., 2016), respectively. To further address the specificity of our key compounds, the student will test for their inhibitory activity against MDA-MB-231 ability to form liver and lungs organotropic clones.

The student will be integrated into a multi-disciplinary cancer research team in the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University and will be benefit from mentorship and training from other members of our lab within a collaborative and supportive environment. It is important to emphasize that; there will be a close collaboration with the Georgia Cancer Center research members and core laboratories such as the Genomics and Proteomics Laboratories. Therefore, the student will be training in molecular and cell biology techniques, cell-based assays, immunohistochemistry techniques, and hands-on experience in NSG MDA-MB-231 xenograft tumors.

Student Learning Outcome

On the completion of the project, students are expected to have attained:

  • Knowledge of cancer cell biology and cancer therapeutics
  • Experimental skills in molecular and cell biology, genetics and proteomics techniques
  • Ability to define a scientific project
  • Ability to do a literature review, read and process relevant information
  • Scientific writing, presenting and communication skills

 STUDENT QUALIFICATIONS: 
Students must be enrolled in Biological or Clinical Laboratory Sciences Programs

Academic knowledge of molecular and cell biology

Strong interest in Cancer Research

High level of responsibility and fast-learning traits

Good communication skills

Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for African American Uterine Cancer Survivors (Dr. Steven Coughlin)

Name: Dr.Steven Coughlin, Associate Professor of Clinical and Digital Health Sciences
Department: Clinical and Digital Health Sciences
Email: scoughlin@augusta.edu
Description: The overall purpose of this pilot study is to develop and evaluate a culturally tailored lifestyle intervention to help African American uterine cancer survivors reduce their risk of cancer recurrence and improve their quality of life through healthy eating, improved diet, physical activity, and weight management.
Student Tasks and Qualifications: Certification or relevant training in group and/or personal fitness instruction. Previous experience in group instruction. Preferred student with excellent verbal/written communication and interpersonal skills. Must be highly motivated and able to make responsible decisions while maintaining confidentiality. Must also be culturally sensitive and willing to work with diverse populations.

Student will be involved with data collection, physical activity instruction and drafting abstracts, with additional opportunity to co-author and publish research.

The research will begin in January of 2017 and physical instruction will take place weekly over a 12 week period beginning in March of 2017. (11/2016)

Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Family (Dr. Surendra Rajpurohit)

Name:  Dr. Surendra Rajpurohit                                        

Department:  Cancer Center  CN3116                                        

Email:  srajpurohit@augusta.edu

Description:  Our research focus on EGFR/sEGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Family) biology in Cancer Disease. The EGFR Family consists of 4 members, which are ErbB1, ErbB2, ErbB3 and ErbB4. All of these Transmembrane Receptors are composed of 3 domains viz, Extracellular Domain (ECD), Transmembrane Domain (TD) and Intracellular Domain (ICD). The extra Cellular domain of each member receptor own the soluble isoforms. We are working on the structural properties of soluble isoform of EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) and its role in cancer biology. EGFR and its isoforms are exploring as tumor biomarkers as well as are potential targets for the development of novel anticancer therapies. My study area is the soluble isoforms of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 3 (sErbB3 or sHER3). Dr Maihle laboratory has characterized 4 soluble forms of isoforms of HER3 receptor. These soluble isoforms are p45-sHER3, p50-HER3, p75-sHER3 and p85-sHER3. My specific research p roject is to Generate and characterize the polyclonal antibodies specific to these sHER3 isoforms. In initial phase of the project we are modeling the short region of unique amino acid (UAA) sequence at carboxyl terminus of sHER3 isoforms. Furthermore, we are inventing the new polyclonal antibodies against human p85-sHER3 isoform for unique sequence (24AA). Our Lab has also been developed sEGFRs as a potential biomarker for cancer detection and now we are establishing it as a novel non-invasive bioassay in order to diagnose and treat the cancer disease.  

Student Tasks and Qualifications:  Basic Knowledge about the life Science and skill the read, interpret and understand research articles (Original /Review) related to Cancer Disease.  
Basic background about the Standard Operative Procedure (SOP) in the Laboratory environment including the scientific equipment handling skill.   
Elementary skill to do the basic experiments like Cell culture, media preparation, the Western blotting and PCR/RT-PCR experience will add additional impact.

Faculty website: http://www.augusta.edu/faculty/directory/view.php?id=SRAJPUROHIT http://www.augusta.edu/faculty/directory/view.php?id=SRAJPUROHIT

*Symptom Screening Study (Dr. Amy Allison)*

Name: Dr. Amy Allison
Department: Augusta University Cancer Center
Email: aalison@Augusta.edu
Description: The project involves running a symptom screener study. It is in our lung cancer clinic but planning to expand it to other clinics. It involves giving patients a questionnaire and collecting them when they are through, as well as answering questions. A minimum of 5 hrs/week but could be more. Prefer students who have previously completed a research class, and they would need the required CITI, HIPPA training. I’d like 3-5 students. (10/2016)

Colorectal Cancer Family Epigenetics Study (Dr. Pamela Shiao)

Name: Dr. Pamela Shiao, Associate Dean for Nursing Research
Department: College of Nursing
Email: pshiao@augusta.edu
Description:As part of preliminary work to build the long range research program, the objective of this phase of effort is to perform genomics and bioinformatics data analyses with the data collected on the colorectal cancer (CRC) epigenetics research to examine variations of human genes that have been associated with CRC for various racial‐ethnic groups for cancer prevention. The purposes are to discover DNA variants and mutations through the complete genomic sequencing of the genes and methylation sequencing for the methylation pathways that have been reported on the known regions and new regions for DNA variants and mutations for related methylation pathways. This phase is necessary to build competitive preliminary work for future federal grants. This effort is necessary to show the collaborative edge of research in collaboration with the expert scientists with most current technological resources. The primary aims for this research program are to examine the differences of gene variations for various racial‐ethnic groups on colorectal cancer (CRC) as risk factors for cancer prevention. The secondary aims were to examine the gender differences on the common genotypes related to CRC for various racial‐ethnic groups. In addition, behavioral risk factors on folate levels, smoking status, and alcohol use were examined for various subgroups with different genotypes.

Image Guided Cancer Therapy Initiative (Dr. Jian-Yue Jin)

Name: Dr. Jian-Yue Jin, Professor of radiology/Radiation Oncology
Department: Augusta University Cancer Center
Email: jjin@Augusta.edu
Description: The image guided cancer therapy research lab has several research opportunities for undergraduate students. The major research project in this lab is to build a new generation of cone beam CT (CBCT) system for image guided radiotherapy and adaptive radiotherapy. A synchronized moving grid (SMOG) is used to resolve three major problems, the scatter, the image lag, and the geometric variation, in the current CBCT system. The students can be involved or take responsibility for the following tasks in this exciting project: (1) To develop a computer code for image interpolation to recover the image information blocked by a grid in the projection images. (2) To study the effect of geometric variation to the penumbra of the grid. (3) Be involved to develop an in‐house CT reconstruction software from the 2D projection image. (4) To write a control program for the SMOG and the CBCT system (5) To physically install the CBCT system We also have other interested projects: (1) Develop a new treatment planning approach using tumor control probability (TCP) and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) that incorporate the tumor cell/microscopic disease distribution and the setup uncertainty into the TCP and NTCP models. The student will learn to using the commercially available treatment planning system to plan unconventional plans, and calculate the TCP and NTCP. (2) Develop a tumor treatment response and kinetic model using before, during and after CT/ PET images. Students will learn to characterize the images and develop models from the data.

Student Tasks and Qualifications: We hope each student can finally write a scientific paper on the study and published in a peer reviewed scientific journal. A meeting abstract is the requirement. Strong math, computer and physics knowledge is desired.

 

Chemistry

 

Organic Synthesis (Dr. Tom Crute)

Name: Dr. Tom Crute
Email: tcrute@augusta.edu
Department: Chemistry and Physics
Title: Organic Synthesis
Description: Synthesis of biologically interesting compounds; Development of reactions for new synthesis applications

Semiconductors (Dr. Shaobin Miao)

Name: Dr. Shaobin Miao
Email: smiao@augusta.edu
Department: Chemistry and Physics
Title: Semiconductors
Description: Organic semiconductors show great promise as low cost and large area electronic devices. This research focuses on the synthesis of large stable heteroacenes by introduction of nitrogen atoms and bulky alkyne substituents into strategic positions.

Analytical (Dr. Stephanie Myers)

Name: Dr. Stephanie Myers
Email: stephanie.myers@augusta.edu
Department: Chemistry and Physics
Title: Analytical
Description: Various environmental monitoring projects including: Analysis of anions in the Augusta Canal by Ion Chromatography, Analysis of mercury in turtle blood by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, Analysis of estrogens in waste water by HPLC with fluorescence detection, and Analysis of chlorophyll by HPLC with fluorescence detection
Student Qualifications Needed: Students should complete CHEM 2810 before beginning analytical chemistry research. Must be comfortable making solutions quantitatively and willing to learn to operate and maintain various instrumentation and work very independently.

Biochemistry (Dr. Angie Spencer)

Name:Dr. Angie Spencer
Email: acspencer@augusta.edu
Department: Chemistry and Physics
Title: Biochemistry
Description: Investigation of the potential use of stem loop DNA in the selection process for generating DNA aptamers. 

Other Research Interests: The study of bioluminescent proteins and their utility in BRET; Measuring the inhibitory effects of anti-cancer drugs on enzymatic activity 

 

Communications

 

Various (Dr. Debbie vanTuyll)

Name: Dr. Debbie vanTuyll
Email: dvantuyl@augusta.edu
Department: Communications and Professional Writing
Title: Various
Description: 1. Occupied: Enemy Occupation and the Confederate Press.
A book I am co-authoring with Joe Hayden of the University of Memphis and Nancy Dupont of the University of Mississippi. My chapter looks at the effect of enemy occupation on the Alexandria Gazette. Alexandria, Va., was the longest occupied city in the Confederacy. Union troops occupied it on May 25, 1861, the day after Virgina seceded. Students would be involved in analyzing newspaper articles as well as diaries and letters written by Alexandrians. This project will require travel to Virginia to do archival research at the Virginia Historical Society, the state library of Virginia, and the Alexandria Public Library.

2. Confederate Community of Journalism.
This is a project that is related to Occupied in that one of my communities is Alexandria. Community of journalism projects look at the demographics of journalists and their readers to try to determine who influenced whom in the dissemination of information. Students will do geneological as well as historical and biographical research into the backgrounds of people who subscribed to newspapers in the antebellum period. We know a great deal about the newspapers and journalists of this period, but very little about the individual members of the audiences they were serving. This project will address that gap in the literature.

3. Thomas Francis Meagher: Revolutionary Speaker and Journalist.
Kathleen Trigg and I are working on a project to examine the speeches and the journalism of Thomas Francis Meagher, and Irish revolutionary who was exiled from Ireland to Australia but escaped and came to America where he started an Irish nationalist newspaper and then became a leading general in the Union army during the American Civil War. He was an enormously successful speaker, but not a great journalist. This project aims to determine why that was -- why is someone who is a good interpersonal communicator not so facile at mass communications? Students will be involved in content analysis and historical analysis. This paper has the potential to be presented at a conference in Ireland in 2013.

4. The Irish Press in America.
This is my newest project. It examines the role of newspapers intended for immigrant audiences in assimilating its readers into their new country while also connecting them with their home country. My starting place for this project is an newspaper run by Thomas Francis Meagher, an Irish revolutionary who would come to the United States after being exiled to Australia. Meagher ran his newspaper for about two years prior to the Civil War and then used his experience as a soldier when he joined the Union Army as the general in charge of the Irish Brigade. This study will eventually pull in the John Mitchell, a colleague of Meagher's in Ireland, who ran a newspaper in Richmond during the Civil War. Students would be involved in historical research and content analysis of newspapers and personal papers.

Research on the use of Role-Playing games for Public Speaking (Dr. Edgar Johnson)

Name: Dr. Edgar Johnson
Email: ejohns22@augusta.edu
Department: Communications and Professional Writing

Title: N/A

Description of Research: Research will focus on the use of role-playing games and how immersive simulations can provide a rich context for public speaking classes and assignments.

Student Tasks/Qualifications:   Students should be willing to assume different roles as part of the simulation and be prepared to see improvements in speech performance.

 

Education

 

GLBTQ Literature in the P-12 Classroom (Rebecca Harper)

Name: Rebecca Harper
Email: rharper7@augusta.edu
Department: Teacher Education
Title: GLBTQ literature in the P-12 classroom
Description: Investigation of the current use of GLBTQ literature in the P-12 classroom, including the factors that inhibit or promote the inclusion of said literature. Identification of quality GLBTQ literature that could be implemented in the P-12 classrooms as well.

Student Qualifications Needed: Ability to identify, collect, and synthesize relevant literature. Conduct interviews and focus groups.

*Views of Restorative School Practices and School Culture (Kristen Gilbert)*

Name: Dr. Kristen Gilbert
Email: 
krgilbert@augusta.edu
Department:
 Teaching and Leading                    

Title:  Views of Restorative School Practices and School Culture  Description:   The goals of this project are to determine how embedded Restorative School Practices are in the culture of a local school district. Restorative School Practices (RSP) derives their origins from Restorative Justice (RJ), which started in the Justice System. RJ is framework used for repairing harm done in a community. As RJ has been adopted in schools, it most commonly has been used for repairing harm done by a student with the goal of reducing out-of-, and in-school suspensions. RSP takes a broader and more proactive view by serving as a cultural framework for a philosophy that guides actions, interactions, and interventions.

In this project, we will examine the culture (attitudes, values, traditions, and philosophies) through both quantitative and qualitative methods. Data gathered through staff surveys (quantitative) and interviews (qualitative) will be analyzed and coded for presentation to the district. Prior to this presentation, we will review the literature on RJ and RSP to build a foundation of knowledge on which to create a capacity building plan for the school.

This would be a good fit for education or sociology students.

Student Qualifications Needed:

  1. Locate articles (from an existing list). Skills: Library research (requesting documents for interlibrary loan)
  2. Search for new articles from 2014-2017. Skills: Library research (key word searches)
  3. Read articles and create annotated bibliography (e.g., This article is about, used “X” research methods, and suggests “Y”). Skills: Synthesis of scholarly writing
  4. Cut and paste data into excel spreadsheet. Skills: Use of Excel sheet.

 

Central Savannah River Area Education Oral History Project (Dr. Niki Christodoulou)

Name: Dr. Niki Christodoulou
Email: nchristodoulou@augusta.edu
Department: Advanced Studies & Innovation
Title: Central Savannah River Area Education Oral History Project  (CSRA-EdOHiP)
Description: Generating artistic ideas about presenting the oral histories to different audiences using a variety of methods, and finding ways to bring these ideas to life. The History of Education as told through educators, museum administrators, historians, artists, public education administrators, activists, and other identified individuals.

Student Qualifications/Tasks: Students will help with reading transcripts, transcribing audio/video interviews, and edit slides. Generate new ideas and help with analysis. 3-5 hours per week needed to start. Critical thinking and good communication skills needed.

Coaching Approaches of Successful High School Team Sport Coaches (Graeme Connolly)

Name: Graeme Connolly
Email: gconnolly@augusta.edu
Department: Kinesiology and Health Science
Title: Coaching Approaches of Successful High School Team Sport Coaches
Description: Examine sport coaching expertise/effectiveness in the context of high school team sports. Eight coaches will be part of the study. Qualitative research methods- primarily semi-structured interviews with numerous high school team sports coaches who have been "successful" for many years. Interviews are fully transcribed and themes elicited from the data.

Student Qualifications Needed: Interest in sports coaching field and sports pedagogy. 

Faculty webpage

Background Information: Research is on-going. National Coaching Conference presentation and regional Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) convention presentation.
"Insights and perspectives on the coaching practices of successful high school team sport coaches"
"The coaching approach of a successful high school softball coach"

Physiological & Mechanical Effects of Elliptical Bicycle Chainrings in Anaerobic Conditions (Amos Myers)

Name: Amos Meyers
Email: amomeyers@augusta.edu
Department: Kinesiology and Health Science
Title: Physiological and Mechanical Effects of Elliptical Bicycle Chainrings in Anaerobic Conditions
Description: Examination of blood lactate pre-exercise and during recovery from Wingate testing with elliptical chainrings; Examination of Wingate variables (power output); Examination of knee and ankle kinematics near top dead center and bottom dead center of pedal strokes

Student Qualifications Needed: Literature search capabilities (library use); Basic familiarization with cycling terminology; Computer proficiency, with willingness to learn new software

Faculty webpage

Exploring Incidents of Wonderment & Awe in STEM & Non-STEM Environments (Ashley Gess)

Name: Ashley Gess
Email: agess@augusta.edu
Department: Teacher and Leading
Title: Exploring incidents of wonderment and awe in STEM and non-STEM learning environments
Description: RQ1: To what extent does learning in a STEM environment result in student responses in wonderment and/or awe?. RQ2: To what extent can teacher behaviors be associated with these? RQ3: What are student behaviors that happen after the wonderment/awe experience? Method: Science classrooms in both STEM and non-STEM middle schools will be videoed for three months of instruction and resulting data will be qualitatively analyzed for incidents of wonder, teacher behavior around the incident and student behavior after the incident. Researchers will therefore be complete observers and video camera presence will be in the science classroom every day for three months, therefore lowering the likelihood of the observations being intrusive. Observational protocols will be designed using current literature about identifying wonderment and awe prior to the viewing of the first class session. Additionally, the principal investigator will train research team using this protocol to maximize inter-rater reliability and "focus" the analysis. Each member of the research team will independently observe each video and document their observations. Analysis will be conducted constant comparative methodology will be employed to derive deep understand ing of the incidents in the learning context. Teacher lesson plans will be analyzed to look for patterns consistent with incidents of wonderment/awe. .

Student Qualifications Needed: Student should be organized and responsible. Should be interested in STEM education or Science education. Student will be asked to: 1. date/time stamp video data 2. transcribe some video data into written, narrative form. 3. participate in qualitative analysis of data.

Faculty webpage

I will be working to investigate authentic ways in which to implement effective STEM education in K-12 settings. This is one piece of the larger investigation.

Performance Psychology Study (Dr. Hannah Bennett, Kinesiology)

Name: Dr. Hannah Bennett
Email: 
habennett@augusta.edu
Department:
Kinesiology and Health Science
Title:
Performance Psychology Study
Description:  
The purpose of this study will be to examine the mental skills needs of students who are music majors. This study will be a needs assessment for music student performers who could potentially benefit from strategies focused on communication, concentration, self-talk, imagery, and other performance psychology techniques. From this assessment, a short intervention protocol will be initiated and completed, followed by a post-intervention review of need of service and the desire for potential implementation of a mental skills professional within the performing music major

Student Qualifications Needed:
Preferably taken and passed KNHS 3310 (Sport and Exercise Psychology) and/or they are a music major interested in mental skills strategies for performance enhancement.

 

English & Foreign Languages

 

Hispano-Romance (Dr. Christopher G. Botero)

Name: Dr. Christopher G. Botero
Email: cbotero@augusta.edu
Department: English and Foreign Languages
Title: Hispanic/Romance Linguistics
Description: Linguistics, phonetics, phonology, bilingualism, sociolinguistics
Student Qualifications Needed: Proficiency in Spanish (preferred, but not required if working on another Romance Language), knowledge of introductory linguistics, proficiency in SPSS (preferred), knowledge of Microsoft Excel

English Opportunities (Dr. Christina Heckman)

Name: Dr. Christina Heckman, Associate Professor of English
Email: checkman@augusta.edu
Department: English and Foreign Languages
Title: various research projects available
Description: Early British Literature (Anglo-Saxon, Arthurian, Middle English); Linguistics and Grammatical Systems; History of the English Language; Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien; Mythology; World Humanities

Project 1 Title:  The Tree of Myth - A Multimedia Web Resource and Database

Description:  Provides an engaging and interactive way to approach global pre-modern literatures and their contemporary forms.

Student Tasks/Qualifications:  Researchers will develop interpretive pages for approaching the study of myth, reading modules with key passages from leterature, and a database of mythological symbols.

English & Foreign Languages (Dr. Seretha Williams)

Name: Dr. Seretha Williams
Email: seretha.williams@augusta.edu
Department: English and Foreign Languages  (AHE239)
Title: Margaret Walker, Horoscopes, and the Foundations of Afrofuturism
Description: The poet, novelist, and essayist Margaret Walker began journaling at the age of 14 and continued throughout her life. The journals, many of which are digitized and housed in the Margaret Walker Center’s online archive, reflect Walker’s broad interests and intimate preoccupations. This project is an archival and digital humanities project. We will search digital archives and travel to Jackson State University to access the full collection of Margaret Walker's papers. We will transcribe documents and create a digital exhibit to publish our work.

The project will consider Walker’s interest in astrology by examining journal entries framed by references to planets, stars, zodiac signs, and numerology. Walker writes about her astrological charts and horoscopes that she believes influence her health, career, family life, and writing. In addition, she links astrology to historical events including the escalation of the Vietnam War and the assassination of Martin Luther King. More than a hundred of the journal entries reference astrology directly; others allude to dreams or premonitions Walker understands as a part of astrology and of her identity as an African American woman from the South. Margaret Walker’s interest in astrology is intricately linked to her interest in folk literature and to the theme of black identity, which recurs in her oeuvre. Dream books, numerology, and horoscopes are cultural artifacts or tools accessed in black folk practices; however, scholars overlook astrology as an integral component of African American and Afri-Caribbean (Walker’s father was from Jamaica) cultures. Understanding Walker’s interest in prophecy and oracle is not only important to studies of Walker’s work but also vital to establishing the cultural and aesthetic foundations of Afrofuturism and its preoccupation with consciousness and identity.     I am working on a monograph of Walker's unpublished works. Her journals are a part of a broader study of her contributions to American literature.

Student Tasks and Qualifications: Interested students should be interested in archival work and feel comfortable using technology. I will provide instruction for digital humanities software we will use for the project. Students must be willing to travel to Jackson, MS. to conduct supervised research in the Walker archives.

Faculty webpage 

 

Health Management & Informatics

 

Economics & Health Behavior (Dr. Vahe Heboyan)

Name: Dr. Vahe Heboyan
Email: vheboyan@augusta.edu
Department: Health Management and Informatics
Title: Various Projects
Description: There are various opportunities available with Dr. Heboyan. Topics include smoking, e-cigarettes, health economics, marketing, telehealth, childcare nutrition.   
Student Qualifications Needed: Interested students should be highly driven and have a strong interest in research. Student should be able to work 10-15 hours a week. A flexible work schedule is possible and is located on the Health Sciences Campus. Students from a variety of majors are welcome to join these research opportunities. (updated 9/16)

Clinical & Digital Health Sciences (Dr. Gina Besenyi)

Name: Dr. Gina Besenyi
Email: gbesenyi@augusta.edu
Department: Clinical and Digital Health Sciences
Title: Various Projects
Description: There are various opportunities available with Dr. Besenyi. 

Faculty webpage 

Project 1: Electronic Community Park Audit Tool (eCPAT): Advancing public park information and technology resources to diverse audiences for healthy communities

 Project 2: Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Augusta Area Asthma Camp on Child Self-Management and Education, Physical Activity, and Parental Support

Project 3: Spatiotemporal Interpolation for Environmental Exposure Analysis: Application to Air Pollution Exposure and Child Asthma

Project 4: Physical Activity to Reduce Cardiometabolic Risk in Adults with Serious Mental Illness: PARCS Rx Study

 
Student Qualifications Needed: Students interested in physical activity, built environment, mobile technology, environmental health, geographic information systems (GIS), chronic disease, and/or public health should apply. Looking for detail-oriented, organized student with excellent written and oral communication skills, ability to manage multiple tasks, and willingness to learn. Knowledge of research methodology is preferred. Experience with data management software such as Excel or SPSS is ideal. Students will have the opportunity to author or co-author abstracts, presentations, and manuscripts to be submitted to local, national, or international peer-reviewed outlets. Result from these projects will be used as preliminary data for proposals to local and national foundations and funding agencies (e.g., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Institutes of Health).

The long term research program is described as:  Physical Activity Research in Community Settings (PARCS) Laboratory

The mission of the PARCS laboratory is to better understand how the neighborhoods and communities in which we live, work, and play affect the health and well-being of residents of all ages. Taking a broad approach to understanding how both physical and social environmental influences affect physical activity, chronic disease, and community health in diverse settings, the goals of the PARCS Lab are to:

1. Explore how various population segments experience differential access to environmental resources
2. Understand how such environmental disparities impact health behaviors (e.g. physical activity) and outcomes (e.g. obesity, asthma)
3. Evaluate the effectiveness of programs, policies, and environmental change efforts for improving physical activity and health
4. Develop and implement tools and interventions to promote equitable physical activity participation that promotes health and well-being at individual and community levels.

Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for African American Uterine Cancer Survivors (Dr. Steven Coughlin)

Name: Dr. Steven Coughlin
Email: scoughlin@augusta.edu
Department: Clinical and Digital Health Sciences
Title: Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for African American Uterine Cancer Survivors
Description:The overall purpose of this pilot study is to develop and evaluate a culturally tailored lifestyle intervention to help African American uterine cancer survivors reduce their risk of cancer recurrence and improve their quality of life through healthy eating, improved diet, physical activity, and weight management. Student Tasks and Qualifications: Certification or relevant training in group and/or personal fitness instruction. Previous experience in group instruction. Preferred student with excellent verbal/written communication and interpersonal skills. Must be highly motivated and able to make responsible decisions while maintaining confidentiality. Must also be culturally sensitive and willing to work with diverse populations. Student will be involved with data collection, physical activity instruction and drafting abstracts, with additional opportunity to co-author and publish research. The research will begin in January of 2017 and physical instruction will take place weekly over a 12 week period beginning in March of 2017. (11/2016)

 

History, Anthropology, Philosophy

 

Colonial Spanish Paleography (Dr. Heather Abdelnur)

Name: Dr. Heather Abdelnur
Email: abdelnur@augusta.edu
Department: History, Anthropology and Philosophy
Title: Colonial Spanish Paleography
Description Latin American Studies, whether Sociology, Anthropology, History, or other Social Sciences/Humanities, study of pre-national period (roughly prior to 1830) requires reading documents, letters, and publications in the Spanish language. However, the formal handwriting of the past is different than that of today and requires training.
Student Qualifications Needed: Preferred students will be Spanish majors or minors, native Speakers of Spanish, or demonstrate considerable skill. Students will work one-on-one with the professor to transcribe documents from 18th and 19th century Spanish America into typed Microsoft Word documents and work at rough translations. Students will help catalog primary source materials and gain experience in local archival research in the Appling Courthouse archive with the professor. Exceptional students will assist in collaborative publication efforts with the professor.

Religion in the American South (Dr. John Hayes)

Name: Dr. John Hayes
Email: jhayes22@augusta.edu
Department: History, Anthropology and Philosophy
Title: Religion in the American South

History Opportunities (Dr. Wendy Turner)

Name: Dr. Wendy Turner
Email: wturner1@augusta.edu
Department:History, Anthropology and Philosophy
Title: N/A
Description: Medieval History of Disabilities, Medicine, Law, and Culture; Medieval & Early Modern History of Mental Health; History of Alchemy and Early Chemistry

 

Mathematics

 

Mathematical Modeling in Sports (Dr. Neal Smith)

Name: Dr. Neal Smith
Email: nsmith12@augusta.edu
Department: Mathematics
Title: Mathematical Modeling in Sports
Description: The analysis of sports is an emerging field, and a very common question involves how to quantify the “quality” of a team or an individual player, so that forecasts about the outcome of a competition can be made.  With some knowledge of the sport in question to find good predictors, and some mathematical tools (the Bradley-Terry model, logistic regression), this can be done. 
Student Qualifications Needed: At least one statistics course would be needed.  An upper-level course would be preferred, but an introductory course could be acceptable for a bright and motivated student. Proficiency in a statistical programming environment (such as R, SAS, etc.) would also be needed, but instruction could be given as part of the project.

 

Neurology

 

Regenerative Medicine & Cyrobiology (Ali Eroglu, PhD)

Name: Ali Eroglu
Department: Neoroscience and Regenerative Medicine
Email: aeroglu@augusta.edu
Phone: 706-721-7595
Title:Regenerative Medicine and Cyrobiology
Description:  We have ongoing projects to develop defined methods for isolation and cryobanking of human stem cells, as well as for cryopreservation of zebrafish eggs and embryos.

NStudent Tasks and Qualifications Needed: Highly motivated students will be trained to carry out experiments along with a postdoctoral associate and a research assistant.

Neurology (M. B. Khan)

Name:  M B Khan                                      Email:  mkhan@augusta.edu         Department:  Neurology   Office: CA1012   Phone:  706-721-1698 (lab)  or 706-446-5558 (office)

Description:  Vascular dysfunction and resultant chronic cerebral hypoperfusion leads to vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), the second most common cause of dementia. We reported that Remote Ischemic conditioning (RIC)-therapy improves cerebral blood flow (CBF) in both murine stroke and VCI models. RIC is a non-invasive, simple, inexpensive, and safe use of repetitive inflation of a blood pressure (BP) cuff on the arm or leg to protect distant organs such as the brain from ischemic injury.  We have some preliminary data after Bilateral Carotid Artery Stenosis (BCAS) in the mouse (model of VCI) that daily remote ischemic postcondtioning (RIPostC) using a BP cuff for 2 weeks increases CBF in a sustained manner, improves cognitive performance, and decreases aggregation of amyloid-beta 42 protein (Aβ42) in the brain. Our central hypothesis is that RIPostC therapy after BCAS improves cognitive function in animal model of vascular cognitive impairment (VCI). 

Our specific aims are:

Aim 1: Determine if RIPostC therapy after BCAS attenuate hippocampal CA1 neuron integrity. It is well understood that spatial learning and memory is a hippocampal dependent phenomena and pyramidal neuron in the hippocampal CA1 field. 

Aim 2: Determine if RIPostC therapy after BCAS protects axonal damage. Aggregation of tau is a well-known causative agent for neurodegeneration and pathological symptom that leads to learning and memory loss in early dementia.

Aims 3: Determine if RIPostC therapy after BCAS improves synaptic maker protein in hippocampal CA1 field. 

 Methods: Microcoil induced bilateral common carotid artery (BCAS) model will be used to induce chronic hypoperfusion. Adult C57BL/6J male mice of (10-12 weeks) will be assigned to 3-different groups (N=10), and subjected to Sham- (procedures of BCAS and RIC), BCAS- (induced VCI followed by RIC-Sham), and BCAS+RIC (induced VCI followed by RIC-therapy). RIC will started 1 week of post-surgery for 3-4wks. At 4-5 weeks post-surgery (1-wk after the cessation of RIC) CBF will be determined using laser speckle contrast imager (LSCI). Functional outcomes will be assessed using novel object recognition (NOR) test for non-spatial working memory, and hanging wire test for motor impairment. Histopathology and immunohistochemistry for BDNF and VGEF. Biochemistry will be also performed on the of the brain tissue collected after the neurobehavioral tests.

STUDENT TASKS AND QUALIFICATIONS NEEDED:   

  • Minimum of 6 months commitment.
  • At least 5-6 hours per day (Monday –Friday)
  • Some time they need to work all day as we do in the lab (Exception for class hour /course work).
  • Trainings required: Chemical Safety, Biosafety, Animal safety, etc. (We will manage about these training procedure through concern office).
  • We will trained him/her with different lab techniques (if required) and make them independent before starting new experiment by themselves.
  • Their contribution cannot be ignore when published the paper. We will give authorship in the publications.

They can share their idea and hypothesis in the work.

 

 

Nursing

 

Obesity & Weight-Reduction Interventions (Dr. Jane Garvin)

Name: Dr. Jane Garvin
Email: bgarvin@augusta.edu
Department: College of Nursing, Physiological and Technological Nursing
Title: Measures of Obesity
Description: Weight-reduction benefits of programs involving breathing, movement, relaxation, spiritual meditation, music, and dietary change

Meta-Analyses & Meta-Prediction of Various Gene Polymorphisms & Mutations to Prevent Chronic Health Problems (Dr. Pamela Shiao)

Name: Dr. Pamela Shiao
Email: pshiao@augusta.edu
Department: College of Nursing, Research
Title:Meta-analyses and meta-prediction
Description:  a. Various cancers b. Cardiovascular diseases c. Mental health d. Congenital defects and transgenerational health problems e. Dietary impact on health Trainees will learn: a. Systematic literature review process b. Building databases through relational data structure c. Analysis packages on pooled analyses, GIS maps, big data analytics

Healthy Methyl Diet (Dr. Pamela Shiao)

Name: Dr. Pamela Shiao
Email: pshiao@augusta.edu
Department: College of Nursing, Research
Title: Healthy methyl diet
Description:  Topics and Faculty Members: a. Validation of dietary intakes through USDA computerized program: Dr. Shiao b. Validation of dietary recommended daily intake for various nutrients including macronutrients, micronutrients, methyl donors: Dr. Shiao Trainees will learn: d. Dietary data through national databases e. Building databases through innovative research methods f. Analytics for various nutrients

Methylation Sequencing Bioinformatics Resources (Dr. Pamela Shiao)

Name: Dr. Pamela Shiao
Email:
pshiao@augusta.edu
Department:
College of Nursing, Research
Title: 
Methylation Sequencing Bioinformatics Resources
Description: 
Topics and Faculty Members: a. Methylation and health outcomes affected by gene mutations and polymorphism: Dr. Shiao and Dr. Lixin Dong b. Validation of genomic sequencing with national TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) data: Dr. Shiao and Dr. Dong Trainees will learn: g. genomic data through national databases h. Building databases through innovative research methods i. Analytics for various genomic data

Genomics & Bioinformatics: Family Epigenetics Intervention Program (Dr. Pamela Shiao)

Name: Dr. Pamela Shiao
Email:
pshiao@augusta.edu
Department:
College of Nursing, Research
Title:
Genomics and Bioinformatics
Description: 
As part of preliminary work to build the long range research program, the objective of this phase of effort is to pilot testing the optimal dietary habits for healthy epigenetics in the family context to prevent chronic health conditions for various racial‐ethnic groups. The secondary aims are to examine the differences on the common genotypes, proteomics and metabolomics related to chronic diseases for various racial‐ethnic groups. In addition, behavioral risk factors on folate levels, inflammation markers including homocysteine levels, methylation status, smoking status, and alcohol use will be examined for various epigenetics pathways and subgroups.
Methods
Using family context and family members as controls, comparing intervention and control groups, this is a family based randomized control plus case‐control study. Six hundred families (1,200 total cases), including 300 cases with colorectal cancer (CRC) and or metabolic syndrome to early stages of diabetes, and their family members in the intervention group, as well as 300 matched control group with cases and family members, living near the University’s communities will be recruited using stratified random sampling method with inclusion criteria.

 

Otolaryngology

 

Various (Paul Weinberger, PhD)

Name: Paul Weinberger, PhD
Department: Department of Otolaryngology
Email: pweinberger@augusta.edu
Phone: 706-721-6100
Description:
POSITION 1: KEY WORDS: Bioengineering, 3d‐printing, CAD‐CAM
POSITION 1: PROJECT: We are seeking a motivated undergrad, with either a strong personal background in computers / programming / technology, or a biology‐computer science academic focus. It is anticipated that this person will assist the lab with CAD projects using AutoCad / Autodesk Inventor and several other Autocad family design products, as well as expand the 3d printing capabilities of the lab. We currently use additive manufacturing technology to fabricate custom parts and inventions in biocompatible poly‐lactic acid, or durable ABS plastic. We would like to expand to medical grade nylon, which the undergraduate student will most likely take the lead on. It is our hope this could evolve over the next few years into a senior‐level elective course at some point although that is obviously subject to appropriate approvals and development.
POSITION 2: KEY WORDS: Regenerative medicine, surgery, animal models, stem cells
POSITION 2: PROJECT: We are seeking a highly motivated pre‐medical student interested in assisting with animal surgical models. The ideal student will be a Biology major or minor with experience at least with dissection / basic anatomy from undergraduate courses. We are developing a mouse model for tracheal transplantation, which involves growing replacement organs (trachea) from adult bone‐marrow stem cells and replacing the airway. Responsibilities will include assisting with animal microsurgery, monitoring animals postoperatively, helping with record keeping. Don’t worry –this is not a “stable hand” job, the department of Lab Animal Services takes care of feeding/cage cleaning/etc.
Student Tasks and Qualifications: This lab is in the Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine (CA building), one of the newer research buildings on campus. There are lots of windows, open floor plan and collegial interactions. The lab is run by Paul Weinberger, an ENT surgeon/scientist with joint appointments in the CBGM / Graduate school and the medical school, department of Otolaryngology. For motivated students interested in medical school, there is the possibility (e.g. reward for job well done!) of obtaining observership status allowing occasional observation in the OR / outpatient clinic. Lab research programs include cancer biomarkers, regenerative medicine and tracheal transplantation. ABOUT THE PI: Dr. Weinberger received his MD from the Medical College of Georgia, clinical research fellowship at Yale University, Residency in Otolaryngology at the Medical College of Georgia, and Fellowship training in Laryngology (Georgia Health Sciences University) and Airway Reconstruction (Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital in London, United Kingdom). He was the recipient of the National Leadership Award from the American Medical Association in 2007. He serves on the standing committee for Science and Education of the American Association for Cancer Research and is a member of the Cancer Genome Atlas Thyroid Disease Working Group for the National Cancer Institute

 

Pediatrics

 

Molecular Signaling: Cardiovascular Disease & Disorders (Dr. Brian Stansfield)

Name: Dr.Brian Stansfield 
Department: Pediatrics
Email: bstansfield@augusta.edu
Description: We are interested in inherited mutations that confer and increased risk of cardiovascular disorders and disease. To this end, we study the effects of protein loss and overexpression on the development of the cardiovascular system and the response to injury/stimuli. We utilize primary mouse and human cell cultures to study molecular signaling pathways including p21 Ras, PI-3Kinase and Hippo-Yap pathway. Students would learn to isolate and culture vascular smooth muscle cells and hematopoietic cells, western blotting, PCR, histology, ELISA, and genome editing. Additionally, students will learn data analysis and presentation, as well as scientific writing and presentation skills.
Student Tasks and Qualifications: Familiarity with molecular biochemistry. Previous relevant experience is a plus.

 

Physics

 

Oscillating Systems/Optics (Dr. Tom Colbert)

Name: Dr. Tom Colbert
Email: tcolbert@augusta.edu
Department: Chemistry and Physics
Title: Oscillating Systems/Optics
Description: Investigation of oscillating systems; Applications of optics

Theoretical & Computational Materials Physics (Dr. Trinanjan Datta)

Name: Dr. Trinanjan Datta
Email: tdatta@augusta.edu
Department: Chemistry and Physics
Title: Theoretical and Computational Materials Physics
Description: Topology and materials science - How can a material (e.g. bismuth telluride) be metallic on the surface and insulating in the bulk? Non-linear optics of magnetic materials - probing the interaction of light with magnetic materials.

Medical/Radiological Physics (Dr. Hauger & Dr. Joe Newton)

Name: Dr. Hauger and Dr. Joe Newton
Email: jhauger@augusta.edu or jnewton3@augusta.edu
Department: Chemistry and Physics
Title: Medical/Radiological Physics
Description: Measuring and characterizing dose from high energy electron beams. Developing 3D dosimetry plastics. Analysis of environmental sensitivity of new types of radiographic film.

Scientific Applications of Electronics & Microcontrollers (Dr. Andy Hauger)

Name: Dr. Andy Hauger
Email: jhauger@augusta.edu
Department: Chemistry and Physics
Title: Scientific Applications of Electronics and Microcontrollers
Description: There are many scientific applications which can be solved with novel designs of electronic circuits and microcontroller systems. We are primarily interested in research and development of environmental sensors.

Student Tasks and Qualifications: Students having strong interest in working with circuits and/or programming microcontrollers are quite suited for work in the Electronics Laboratory for the Internet of Things (ELIOT). Students will learn a variety of techniques including analog design, circuit construction, 3D printing, and electronic instrumentation. Most students also learn to program open-source electronic systems such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

Theoretical Condensed Matter & Theoretical Atomic/Molecular/Optical Physics (Dr. Theja De Silva)

Name: Dr. Theja De Silva
Email: 
tdesilva@augusta.edu
Department:
Chemistry and Physics
Title: 
Theoretical Condensed Matter and Theoretical Atomic/Molecular/Optical Physics
Description: 
All projects involve studying collective and interaction dominated behavior of atoms/electrons to get better understanding of materials that leads to technological applications. 

Electro-coflow (Dr. Josefa Guerrero Millan)

Name: Dr. Josefa Guerrero Millan
Email: jguerreromillan@augusta.edu
Department: Chemistry and Physics
Title: Electro-coflow
Description: Drops are present in our everyday life in the kitchen, the shower, and are also used in fountains for aesthetic reasons. In addition, drops are of fundamental importance in many industrial processes in different areas like chemical, metallurgical and mechanical engineering, food industry, pharmaceutical sector and ink jet printing, to name a few. The same can be said for microfibers that are used in tissue engineering, coating, drug delivery or catalytic processes.
A liquid with finite electrical conductivity in the presence of a strong electric field can deform and adopt a conical shape resulting from the balance between electric and surface tension stresses. However, near the apex of the cone, this structure is not stable and the associated singularity is replaced by a thin jet. The resultant cone-jet structure, which is stable within certain values of the applied voltage and imposed liquid flow rate, is the workhorse of electrospray and all its associated applications. The jet that emanates from this structure always breaks into spherical droplets due to axisymmetric instabilities. However, in many cases, the jet bends off-axis due to a lateral instability that results from the repulsion between the straight and bent parts of the jet. If the growth rate associated to this whipping instability is larger than associated to breakup, the off-axis movement of the jet becomes the most significant aspect of its evolution. This is exploited in electrospinning, where the simple liquid is replaced by a polymer solution whose solvent evaporates before drop breakup takes place, thus resulting in thinner fibers, as bending stretches, concomitantly thinning the jet. Unfortunately, in most experimental realizations whipping manifests in a chaotic fashion preventing us from knowing and unraveling its detailed structure and properties.

I have applied an electric field to a moderately conducting liquid surrounded by a coflowing liquid to generate a steady-state whipping structure, which I found is helicoidal, with an amplitude that increases linearly along the downstream direction.
Although, an extensive work has been done in electrospinning, the fundamental principles of this problem are still unclear. I plan to continue this research with an extensive experimental work to study to role played by all the fluid parameters present: density, viscosity and conductivity of the outer and inner liquids and geometrical parameters, like the size of the tip or the distance between the tip and the ground. This work will be complemented with a theoretical and numerical effort to understand the fundamental principles of the electro-coflow. 

Student Qualifications: The only thing needed is to be willing to learn. Solid mathematical background appreciated.

 

Physiology

 

Peripheral & Central Regulation of Energy Balance (Ruth B.S. Harris, PhD)

Name: Ruth B.S. Harris, PhD.
Department: Physiology
Email: ruharris@augusta.edu
Phone: 706-721-4479
Description: Our research focuses on peripheral and central regulation of energy balance with specific emphasis on the adipose-derived hormone leptin. We have one project investigating how different areas of the brain integrate their response to leptin such that very low doses of the hormone that are ineffective if applied to only one site at a time will produce a substantial weight loss if two areas are treated simultaneously. A second project is examining the metabolic basis of development of leptin resistance in animals that have 30% sucrose solution available to drink. Our experiments involve the use of rats and occasionally mice and techniques include rodent surgeries, behavioral measures and post-mortem tissue analysis by Western blot, immunohistochemistry, real-time PCR and colorimetric assays.
Student Tasks and Qualifications:The student would have to be comfortable with the concept of using animals for research and all that that entails.

Mechanisms Leading to Hypertension in Obesity (Eric J. Belin de Chantemele, PhD)

Name: Eric J. Belin de Chantemele
Department: Physiology
Email: ebelindechanteme@augusta.edu
Phone: 706-721-7805
Description: The main goal of the project is to identify the mechanisms leading to hypertension in obesity and to determine whether these mechanisms are sex-specific. Experiments will include characterization of the cardiovascular phenotype of mouse models of obesity and collaboration with clinicians working with human patients.
Student Tasks and Qualifications: Genuine interest for research, scientific curiosity and strong motivation.

Vascular Smooth Muscle (R. Clinton Webb, PhD)

Name: R. Clinton Webb
Department: Physiology
Email: cwebb@augusta.edu
Phone: 706-721-7742
Faculty Webpage 
Description: We study the physiology of vascular smooth muscle, with particular emphasis placed on: 1) vascular reactivity in hypertension and diabetes, 2) penile and clitoral erection in sexual dysfunction, 3) cellular and subcellular mechanisms of contraction and relaxation of vascular smooth muscle (cell signaling, electrogenic sodium pump, subcellular calcium distribution, monovalent cation movements, nitric oxide, RhoA/Rho kinase, etc.), 4) adrenergic neurotransmission in blood vessels, and 5) intercellular communication between vascular smooth muscle cells.
Student Tasks and Qualifications: General laboratory skills and a willingness to learn new techniques for the measurement of vascular function in vivo and in vitro.

 

Political Science

 

Ethnic Group Identity (Dr. Craig Albert)

Name: Dr. Craig Albert, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Department: Political Science
Email: calbert@augusta.edu
Description: I am seeking students from any major that wish to help create an ethnic group identity database. The codebook of the database has already been published, and I am looking for undergraduate students to help analyze and record/code ethnic group identity and intensity of violence. You will do research on a number of ethnic groups and use coding mechanisms to determine how strong is their strength of ethnic group identity as well as coding how intense violence was during ethnic conflict, i.e, was it mass protest or full-scale ethnic genocide, or ethnocide? All participants will be noted in future publications that will result from this as being research assistants. Further, possible class credit as a 4990 research class is possible as well. 
Student Tasks and Qualifications: Students must be able to use Microsoft Word and Excel and should have great reading comprehensions skills. Intro to American Government is required beforehand. Research Methods is preferred, but not required. Am open to future co-authorships with undergrads if I value your work ethic on this project.

Relevant Readings:
Bringing Rigour to Ethnic Studies 
The Ethno Violence Nexus 

Terrorism Research (Dr. Gregg Murray)

Name: Dr. Gregg Murray, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science
Department: Political Science
Email: gmurray@augusta.edu
Description: I am seeking students from any major that wish to help with terrorism research. We will be collecting data from numerous sources to compile into a database

 

Psychiatry & Health Behavior

 

Health Psychology & Health Disparities Research (Lara Steplleman, PhD)

Name: Lara Stepleman, PhD
Department: Psychiatry and Health Behavior
Email: lsteplem@augusta.edu
Phone:706-721-0114
Title: Health Psychology and Health Disparities Research
Description: Project availability varies but current projects include planning and implementation of studies related to: 1) African American women with substance use who are at-risk for or living with HIV; 2) LGBT health disparities including a community health needs assessment, another project using a national dataset to evaluate LGBT tobacco use, and one examining the impact of the Equality Clinic on patients and health professions students who volunteer at the clinic; 3) Adjustment to illness and identity in multiple sclerosis.

Student Tasks and Qualifications: Students participate in all facets of research depending on stage of the project, including IRB development, survey design and administration, data entry and analysis, literature review, and abstract and manuscript writing. Typically, students need to be in their last year of undergraduate study. Preference is given to student who have completed courses in research design and statistics. Past research experience also is preferred but not required.

Examining Correlation Between the Physician Resident Temperament & Empathy with Patient Care (Nagy Youssef, MD)

Name: Nagy Youssef, MD
Department: Psychiatry and Health Behavior
Email: nyoussef@augusta.edu
Phone: 706-721-6963
Title: Project available to examine correlation between the physician resident temperament and empathy with patient care
Description: This study will involve developing and analyzing a cross-sectional survey offered to primary care and neurology residents to examine the correlation between empathy and resident physician temperament. This is a pilot study to better understand the underlying temperament and aspects of personality characteristics that predict empathy during patients care and could help the development of educational programs to improve empathy and physician-patient communication.

Student Tasks and Qualifications: Students participate in all facets of research depending on stage of the project, including IRB development, survey design and administration, data entry and analysis, literature review, and abstract and manuscript writing. Typically, students need to be in their last year of undergraduate study. Preference is given to student who have completed courses in research design and statistics. Past research experience also is preferred but not required.

 

Psychology

 

Experimental Psychology (Dr. Ric Topolski)

Name: Dr. Ric Topolski
Email: rtopolsk@augusta.edu
Department: Psychology
Title: Cognitive
Description: Moral reasoning; Human sexuality, leadership; Cognitive task analysis (8/16)
Student qualifications:  Grit and an unwavering passion for the scientific method

Behavioral Neuroscience (Dr. Tadd Patton)

Name: Dr. Tadd Patton
Email: tpatton@augusta.edu
Department: Psychological Sciences
Title: Behavioral Neuroscience
Description: Anxiety and Substance Use Disorders:  The project described here is one part of a larger ongoing study investigating the neuropathological substrates associated with anxiety and substance abuse and dependence. Our aim is to gain a better understanding of the relationship between alcohol consumption and anxiety from a neurobiological perspective. Findings from our experiments will ultimately add to the existing knowledge base of anxiety and AUDs and potentially lead to more effective treatment options for individuals suffering from these two disorders.  Methods: The goal of our current experiments is to examine alcohol consumption related to stress in the Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) strain of rat compared to an outbred (normal counterpart) - the Wistar rat (WIS). Future experiments will include the examination of the neural mechanisms underlying stress-induced alcohol consumption in these rats.

Student Qualifications/Tasks: Students do not necessarily need to have any research skills before working with me. However, they should meet the following qualifications:
1). Must have strong desire to study the brain and an understanding that this often requires working with non-human subjects.
2). Must have a GPA of at least 3.0.
3). Must be able to work independently and as a member of a team.
4). Must be able to commit to one year (two semesters) in the lab.
5). Must have a strong work ethic (reliable and dependable).

Health Behavior & Economics (Dr. Vahe Heboyan)

Name: Dr. Vahe Heboyan
Email: vheboyan@augusta.edu
Department: Health Management and Informatics
Title: There are various opportunities available with Dr. Heboyan. Topics include smoking, e-cigarettes, health economics, marketing, telehealth, childcare nutrition
Description: : Interested students should be highly driven and have a strong interest in research. Student should be able to work 10-15 hours a week. A flexible work schedule is possible and is located on the Health Sciences Campus. Students from a variety of majors are welcome to join these research opportunities.

Psychotherapist Personality Traits (Dr. Jenelle Slavin-Mulford)

Name:  Dr. Jenelle Slavin-Mulford
Email:  jslavinm@augusta.edu
Department: Psychology
Title:  Psychotherapist Personality Traits Related to Psychotherapy Process and Outcome
Description:  Ample research suggests that therapists differ in their level of effectiveness.  Even more striking is that therapist effects appear to be larger than treatment effects. These findings suggest that “who” the therapist is may be more important than the type of treatment used.  Moreover, therapist training, experience, and theoretical orientation do NOT appear to explain the majority of therapist effects.  Thus, it has been hypothesized that therapists’ personal characteristics may impact treatment.  If this is true, it would seem wise for clinical graduate programs to accept students who possess these important traits.  Thus, the purpose of the present study is to examine how therapist’s personality (measured prior to training) impacts the way in which they conduct therapy with their first clients.  Gaining a greater understanding of these factors could have important implications for selecting applicants into training programs and could also inform types of training or areas of focus during training. 

Student Task/Qualifications:  I typically only accept students into my lab who can make a minimum of a 1 year commitment.  Undergraduates are primarily involved in the scoring of personality assessments and entering data.  The most important characteristics include being:

  • Conscientious
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Honest
  • Hardworking

Performance Psychology Study (Dr. Hannah Bennett, Kinesiology)

Name:  Dr. Hannah Bennett
Email:  habennett@augusta.edu
Department: Kinesiology and Health Science
Title:  Performance Psychology Study
Description:  The purpose of this study will be to examine the mental skills needs of students who are music majors. This study will be a needs assessment for music student performers who could potentially benefit from strategies focused on communication, concentration, self-talk, imagery, and other performance psychology techniques. From this assessment, a short intervention protocol will be initiated and completed, followed by a post-intervention review of need of service and the desire for potential implementation of a mental skills professional within the performing music major.

Student Tasks/Qualifications:  Preferably taken and passed KNHS 3310 (Sport and Exercise Psychology) and/or they are a music major interested in mental skills strategies for performance enhancement

 

Sociology

 

Income Inequality in the U.S. Airline Industry (Dr. Dustin Avent-Holt)

Name: Dr. Dustin Avent-Holt
Email: daventho@augusta.edu
Department: Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Social Work
Title: Income Inequality in the U.S. 
Description: Investigating the sources of the growth in income inequality since the 1970s using data from the U.S. airline industry. 
Student Qualifications Needed: No prior skills are necessary, though having taken a course in social science methods (such as survey research, statistical analysis, etc.) is a plus. All students are welcome.

Augusta Golf Science Institute (Dr. David Hunt)

Name: Dr. David Hunt
Email: hdhunt@augusta.edu
Department: Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Social Work
Title: Augusta Golf Science Institute
Description: To begin research to support the newly created Augusta Golf Science Institute. Research will be golf-oriented, and students will have the opportunity to design the research. Possibilities may include aspects of social class in golf, golf and gender, and social psychological aspects of golf.
Student Qualifications Needed: Research Methods and Statistics courses.

Views of Restorative School Practices and School Culture (Kristen Gilbert)

Name: Dr. Kristen Gilbert
Email: 
krgilbert@augusta.edu
Department: 
 Teaching and Leading                    

Title:  Views of Restorative School Practices and School Culture  Description:   The goals of this project are to determine how embedded Restorative School Practices are in the culture of a local school district. Restorative School Practices (RSP) derives their origins from Restorative Justice (RJ), which started in the Justice System. RJ is framework used for repairing harm done in a community. As RJ has been adopted in schools, it most commonly has been used for repairing harm done by a student with the goal of reducing out-of-, and in-school suspensions. RSP takes a broader and more proactive view by serving as a cultural framework for a philosophy that guides actions, interactions, and interventions.

In this project, we will examine the culture (attitudes, values, traditions, and philosophies) through both quantitative and qualitative methods. Data gathered through staff surveys (quantitative) and interviews (qualitative) will be analyzed and coded for presentation to the district. Prior to this presentation, we will review the literature on RJ and RSP to build a foundation of knowledge on which to create a capacity building plan for the school.

This would be a good fit for education or sociology students.

Student Qualifications Needed:

  1. Locate articles (from an existing list). Skills: Library research (requesting documents for interlibrary loan)
  2. Search for new articles from 2014-2017. Skills: Library research (key word searches)
  3. Read articles and create annotated bibliography (e.g., This article is about, used “X” research methods, and suggests “Y”). Skills: Synthesis of scholarly writing
  4. Cut and paste data into excel spreadsheet. Skills: Use of Excel sheet.