Find information about the undergraduate research opportunities currently available to Augusta University students. Use the portal below to browse different projects or use the search bar (above the opportunities listed) to look for projects in a specific major or department.
For faculty wishing to post a research opportunity, please complete the Undergraduate Research Mentor Registration form. Please be as detailed and specific as possible.
Below is a list of ongoing opportunities across AU campuses. They are not in any particular order. Projects are vetted on a semesterly basis. Students are encouraged to meet with a CURS advisor for help inapproaching a professor for a research opportunity.
Dr. Seungwoo Kang
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Our lab focuses on identifying the fundamental roles of local astrocyte-neuron interaction and long-range brain circuits in alcohol/substance use disorder and its comorbidities. We are characterizing how the physiological and pathophysiological brain activities that integrate positive and negative stimuli shape behavioral outcomes during the transition from substance use to dependence. To expand our understanding of the cell type-, circuit-, context-, and age-dependent neuropharmacological basis in a variety of related pathologies, our research applies multi-layered combination of biochemical, electrophysiological, and behavioral assays with new approaches such as a real-time behavior-synchronized brain recording and computational analysis. Thus, there will be lots of opportunities of hands-on experience in neuropharmacological techniques and co-authorship in publications.
The goal of our research is guided by two overarching questions: 1) How the physiological and pathophysiological brain activities that integrate positive and negative stimuli shape behavioral outcomes and 2) What are the risk predictable signatures in the related diseases. The project here is a part of this long term research program.
Experience of mouse handling or Matlab/Python preferred but not required.
Please review faculty profile: https://www.augusta.edu/mcg/phmtox/seungwoo-kang-phd.php
Dr. Raghavan Pillai Raju
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Our laboratory is focused on understanding the regulation of cellular energetics in aging and injury. Multiple different projects are available for motivated undergraduate students interested in gaining hands-on experience in biomedical research. Current research programs are supported by grants from the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health. If you are driven, motivated and want to learn more, join our program. Opportunity for co-authorship in publications.
Some experience in laboratory experimentation that involves the use of micro pipettes.
Willingness to learn new techniques.
Please review faculty profile: https://www.augusta.edu/mcg/phmtox/raghavan_pillai_raju_phd.php
Dr. Jessica Faulkner
Department of Physiology
My area of research is to investigate mechanisms via which high blood pressure, blood vessel dysfunction and low birth weeight develops inpregnancy. The lab utilizes mouse and rat models as well as human cell lines to pursue the genetic, hormonal and vascular contributions of high blood pressure of pregnancy and its associated advese effects.
Motivated students with some lab skills. Should have completed Biology 1107 and 1108 with a B or better.
Prefer students who can commit to at least 2 semesters.
Dr. Vivian Lui
Georgia Cancer Center
HSC Georgia Cancer Research Center
We are a Precision Medicine Laboratory which focuses on discovering new precision therapies for head and neck cancer. Head and neck cancer is a very aggressive cancer affecting more than 0.83 million people worldwide annually. Advanced head and neck cancer remains to be incurable, and lacks effective therapy.
Due to exposures to carcinogens, head and neck tumors harbor multiple mutations in their DNA. Our research is to discover drug sensitivity nature of these tumor-specific mutations by drug screening using tumors cells directly derived from patients, as well as bioinformatics. Students will have extensive exposures to genetics, drug sensitivity and drug screening hands-on laboratory research, or Bioinformatics research related to precision medicine development in head and neck cancer.
Great project for an Honors Thesis!
We will have 2 streams of research for you to choose from:
A: Wet-lab Research Students who are interested in Precision Medicine research will (No pre-requisite):
1) learn how to culture head and neck cancer cells, and patient-derived cultures (PDCs).
2) conduct drug testing experiments on new therapeutics using head and neck cancer cultures.
3) learn how to use the state-of-art high content screening equipment for cancer cell survival and cell death assays.
4) learn how to analysis laboratory data on cancer cell drug sensitivity in relation to specific cancer gene mutations.
5) learn about the genetic aberrations in head and neck cancers, and potential druggable mutations in human cancer.
1) learn about druggable mutations in human cancers.
2) conduct computer analyses on druggable gene mutations that are common in different types of head and neck cancers.
3) conduct deeper pathway gene analysis using published head and neck cancer gene databases to identify new druggable signaling events in cancer.
Minimum of 2 semester commitment
Interested students should have completed Biology 1107 and 1108, and Chem 1211 (preferred)
Project B requires strong computer skills or experience working with R-studio.
Do Compression Garments Influence VO2 during Long-Distance Running?
The overarching goal of this project is to understand the influence compression clothing can have on athletic performance. Compression clothing is massive industry with billions of dollars in sales yearly however relatively little is known about its effectiveness in improving physiological variables. We want to explore if wearing compression pants can reduce the amount of oxygen needed during a long-distance run. We can do this by having our participants wear compression pants and run on a treadmill for 40 minutes while we measure their oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange.
Relevant publication: Craig-Jones, Andrew, "Do Compression Garments Work? The Effect
of Compression Garments on Biomechanical and Physiological Factors" (2020). UNLV Theses,
Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 3882.
Students will be involved in literature review, subject recruitment, data collection, data analysis, and dissemination. Background knowledge in kinesiology, biomechanics, or human physiology is helpful but not necessary.
Cellular Biology and Anatomy
HSC CB 2820
Title: EV characterization and toolbox development
Description: We are interested in extracellular vesicles (EV), particularly exosomes, a type of extracellular vesicles released after fusion of internal vesicles, including multivesicular endosomes and the cell surface membrane. Because these nanoparticles encapsulate intracellular small and macromolecules, they can mirror the intracellular states of cells at the molecular levels. Further, recent data suggest they can not only play roles in extracellular space but also serve as intercellular messengers under certain conditions. To understand how these vesicles are generated and how the released vesicles can modulate the cellular states of the recipient cells, we currently probe their biogenesis and roles in epithelial growth as well as new methods for tracking EVs.
Motivation! Background on biology and data science might be needed.
At least 2-semester commitment
Business Administration - Management
I am working on several research projects that are under three following research
1) Corporate political activities - Interaction between businesses and governments, regulators, legislators, and politicians
2) International business - Business operations outside their home countries
3) CEO, Top-management, and Boards of directors - Strategic leadership and corporate governance
Other scholarly works: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=o75ILWkAAAAJ
Faculty profile: https://www.augusta.edu/faculty/directory/view.php?id=DHASIJA
Students should have basic knowledge of Microsoft excel and word.
If students have their own research interest that is related to his area, Dr. Hasija would be happy to mentor.
Department of Oral Biology and Diagnostic Sciences
HSC CB 2404F
Our lab is interested in studying mechanisms of oral inflammation and how stromal gingival cells contribute to immune-inflammatory processes in the oral cavity. Most commonly used methods are DNA and RNA extraction and purification, PCR, immunostaining, immunoblotting, cell culture and molecular immunology techniques.
Students who are highly motivated to learn more about mechanisms of oral inflammation and interested in basic research applied to the orofacial complex are welcome.
Research activity will occur at Augusta Children's Hospital
The Alcohol and Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP) Lab at Georgia State University is seeking a student research assistant from Augusta Univ. who can commit 10 hours per week to a study on sexual assault and substance use prevention.
Research tasks include
Requirements to apply:
contact Ana Hutchins (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details and info on how to apply.
HSC GE 3018
Area of research: Mathematical Biology
Project Title: Mathematical modeling and forecasting of Covid-19 cases, deaths, and mutations in the United States
Goals: Student will learn how to analyze the Covid-19 cases mathematically and statistically by first describing an epidemic model governing the transmission of the disease in a population consisting of susceptible, vaccinated, exposed, infected and treated individuals.
Method used: 1) Create an epidemic model describing the transmission of such disease
2). Estimate any epidemiological parameters in the model using real data set from CDC or WHO
3). Run a numerical simulation code to predict/forecast the data set
4). Extract reasonable conclusions from the estimates and the forecast.
The plan for this research is to be able to track the daily Covid-19 cases for the 50 states (especially for the state of Georgia) in the United States
Faculty profile: https://spots.augusta.edu/OOTUNUGA/
Student's skills/qualifications: Student must have taken Calculus II and/or Differential
equation. Taking a statistical class will also be an advantage.
Student will be taught how to use MATLAB and some statistical software to analyze data and run some numerical simulations.
HSC GE 3018
We present a mathematical model describing the transmission of certain diseases with
multiple strains and explore the effects of vaccination and treatments on such diseases.
The effects of external fluctuations caused by factors like the rates at which testing
of such disease is done, vaccination rates, variability in the number of contacts
between infected and susceptible individuals, mask use per capital, social behavior,
public health intervention, and so on, is also investigated. The probability distribution
of the number of infections at a given point in time is also obtained.
To understand the disease dynamics, taking into consideration vital dynamics, we study a powerful quantitative concept that can be used to characterize the contagiousness and transmissibility of the infectious disease. The expected number of secondary cases produced by a typical infectious individual in a completely susceptible population is calculated and a disease eradication threshold derived from the number.
The analysis is demonstrated using the daily United States COVID-19 infection and recovered cases collected from the World Health Organization and The United States Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC)
Faculty profile: https://spots.augusta.edu/OOTUNUGA/
Students must have taken calculus and/or differential equations. Taking a statistical class will also be an advantage.
Interested students will be trained on how to use statistical/analytical software like MATLAB, R, SPSS to analyze data.
Dr. Hasan Korkaya
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (HSC)
Understanding cancer metastasis
When this becomes metastatic disease, such cancers are mostly incurable and patients have limited treatment options. The Korkaya lab at the Georgia Cancer Center applies the most advanced technologies and methods to understand the metastatic process in relevant mouse models and patient derived xenografts (PDXs). Metastasis is a complex multistep process and understanding the molecular mechanism and identifying crucial players in this process may lead to alternative treatment options for metastatic cancer patients.
The Korkaya lab is well established and conducts cutting edge research utilizing all the necessary tools and collaborating with a number of expert investigators at GCC.
The project is part of 5-year NCI/NIH funded project which investigates the role of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) in metastatic process.
Interested students will be part of the ongoing project in the Korkaya lab after extensive training by the PI and postdoc/graduate students. Persistent students based on their contribution may eventually be listed as co-authors in posters in various meetings and in publications.
Dr. Vijay Ganta
Vascular Biology Center
CL 3001 Health Science Campus (HSC)
Role of VEGF-A isoforms in regulating angiogenesis in Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Goals: Study the role of alternatively spliced VEGF-A isoforms in inducing VEGFR1 vs. VEGFR2 signaling
Purpose: pro-angiogenic VEGF-A isoforms help in tissue recovery in PAD, whereas anti-angiogenic VEGF-A isoforms impair tissue recovery. The current study aims to determine the downstream signaling processes by which pro-vs. antiangiogenic VEGF-A isoforms regulate ischemic angiogenesis.
Methods: RNA isolation, quantitative PCR, protein isolation from skeletal muscle, SDS-PAGE, Western blotting, and Immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence analysis
Visit Dr. Ganta's website: https://www.augusta.edu/centers/vbc/ganta.php
Good listening skills, follow directions. Pays attention to details in the protocol, good record maintenance.
Dr. Iryna Lebedyeva and Dr. Darren Browning
Department of Chemistry in collaboration with the Georgia Cancer Center
Cancer of the colorectum (CRC) is one of the most common cancers in the world, representing about 8% of all annually reported cancers. Chemoprevention of CRC development is, therefore, a priority for people at high risk, though no drugs are currently available for this unmet clinical need. This work is aimed at developing PDE5 inhibitors (PDE5i) for colon cancer prevention. Novel PDE5i will show fewer side effects than existing PDE5i by designing their polar structural analogs to affect the gut lining while minimizing entrance into the bloodstream. Our strategy is to design novel localized PDE5i’s that remain in the GI tract to specifically target GI diseases. As proof of principle, we have synthesized and tested 2 novel polar analogs of sildenafil: malonyl sildenafil and boronyl-sildenafil. Our central hypothesis is to develop and test new gut localized analogs of sildenafil that have been proven to be effective in colon cancer prevention in preclinical models. Our long-term goal is to develop a family of gut-localized, safe, and effective drugs that can be used for colon cancer prevention. The objective of this proposal is to develop a library of structurally optimized novel chemical entities and determine their efficacy at inhibiting PDE5i in vitro and in mice. The research approaches used in this project will be implemented in the existing Medicinal Chemistry undergraduate program at Augusta University. This project blends the expertise of medicinal chemistry and biology and their roles in early drug discovery. Both the drug design and biological testing reflect the key steps in the pharmaceutical industry workflow for drug development.
We will test our hypothesis in this research project by pursuing two specific aims:
Specific Aim 1: Develop novel polar analogs of sildenafil for localized delivery and inhibition of PDE5.
Specific Aim 2: Develop and test a formulation for the targeted delivery of novel drug candidates.
This project is highly innovative and educational in that it merges chemistry and biology during the drug discovery process. This approach corresponds to the student learning outcomes of the Rational Drug Design course, Medicinal Chemistry course, and undergraduate research student courses. This research project will also promote student interest in the master’s program, which offers a Master’s of Science degree in Biomolecular Science. Successful completion of this program will promote drug discovery undergraduate research and result in developing novel drug candidates for colon cancer prevention. Our project outcomes will change the methods, treatments, services, or preventative interventions for patients predisposed to CRC by providing a daily chemoprevention drug as an additional option to the chemoprevention of CRC besides colonoscopies.
Could potentially turn into a paid research experience for successful students.
Dr. Dustin Avent-Holt
Pamplin College, Department of Social Sciences
Summerville campus Allgood Hall N217
In this research project we are analyzing economic texts from the 19th and 20th centuries. The goal is to understand how the concept of productivity has evolved over time, specifically whose work and what activities get included and excluded from being defined as economically productive. This is central to understand given that productivity is a key metric we use to define the value and worth of people and their activities. The method we will use to understand this is the historical analysis of economic textbooks and canonical economic texts. We have a body of textbooks from 1890-1960 at the moment, but need to extend that sample backwards earlier into the 1800s and expand it outwards to include not just textbooks but canonical economic texts.
The long-term goal is to analyze economic texts from the 18th-20th centuries for how the construct key economic ideas and concepts, building a database of digitized economic texts in the process.
No prior experience necessary, but the project requires the ability to read, code, and synthesize often dense written texts. Students will also develop samples of texts from historical sources and archives and locate electronic copies of historical texts.
Dr. Dawn Langley-Brady
College of Nursing
Palliative Care - Retrospective chart review at a CSRA hospice agency ascertaining the effectiveness of an essential oil used to reduce terminal respiratory secretions. The methods used will be manually searching paper charts (pre-electronic charting), compiling findings, and analyzing statistics (if applicable).
Faculty website: https://www.augusta.edu/faculty/directory/view.php?id=DLANGLEY
The student should have the following:
- An interest in end-of-life or palliative care and aromatherapy or natural products/complementary modalities
- Access to a laptop and internet
- Reliable transportation to the off-campus location
- The ability to read cursive English
- CITI training or be able to complete their CITI training by the end of October
I prefer a motivated, organized student who is not afraid of digging through stacks of paper nurses notes to retrieve data with me. :)
Additionally, a student who has two or more years remaining in their undergraduate degree program and who is willing to continue with this project during the 2022-2023 academic year+ is preferred.
Dr. Maria Sabbatini
Summerville SH - E2014
Carbohydrate antigen (CA) 19-9 is a type of antigen released by pancreatic cancer
cells. Because the serum levels of CA-19-9 increase during the progression of non-invasive
low-grade PanIN lesions to invasive PDAC, the students will compare the changes in
the levels of CA-19-9 antigen between mouse models of pancreatic cancer using an enzyme-linked
immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit. However, we first need to validate the mouse CA-19-9
The aim of this proposal is: to validate the mouse CA-19-9 ELISA kit using mouse models of pancreatic cancer.
Faculty profile: https://www.augusta.edu/scimath/biology/mariasabbatini.php
Determination of serum CA-19-9 level: the student will analyze the changes in the levels of CA-19-9 antigen using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit from MyBioSource.
Dr. Mark Hamrick
Cell Biology and Anatomy
Office: HSC CB 1116
Overview: Our lab studies mechanisms of muscle loss in a variety of settings including aging, disuse (immobilization), and trauma. We utilize mouse models for this work, and have a large sample of muscle histological sections for analysis. We are interested in identifying new ways to analyze images of these samples, ideally using AI or Machine Learning algorithms. The work will involve capturing microscopic images of these muscle sections and uploading them into image analysis software.
Successful student researchers could become a co-author on papers by our collaborators who could include the muscle analyses in their publications.
Faculty website: https://www.augusta.edu/mcg/cba/faculty/hamrick.php
Some knowledge of biology and computers! We can likely find some collaborators in data science or computer science to help with algorithm development.
Commitment of at least 2 semesters.
Good project for those interested in Orthopedics as well.
Dr. Jose Jimenez
Summerville, SH - E3019
Research on preparation, characterization, and study of of glassy materials for applications in solid-state lighting (e.g. LEDs), optics, lasers, solar cell technologies, Li-ion batteries, nuclear waste immobilization, and bio-active materials.
Faculty profile: https://www.augusta.edu/scimath/chemistryandphysics/jose-jimenez.php
Student must have the following courses completed: Prerequisites: CHEM 1212 (General Chemistry II) and CHEM 2810 (Analytical Chemistry)
Preferred courses completed:
CHEM 3721 (Physical Chemistry I) and CHEM 4210 (Inorganic Chemistry)
Dr. Jay Hegde
Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine
There are a selection of projects available in my laboratory. In my laboratory, we study brain function using a variety of methods, including those of cognitive psychology, brain imaging, and computational methods (please see my website, www.hegde.us). I try to do my best to match the project to the aptitudes, interests and the plans of the student. Please consult the aforementioned lab website.
Preferred, but not required: Expertise in computer programming (in any language).
Required: Reliability, professionalism, ability to work as a team, and eagerness to learn.
Please see my lab website: www.hegde.us
Dr. M B Khan
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.
Dr. Paul Langridge
- In my lab we look at how cells communicate during the development of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) as it grows from a single cell to a multicellular animal. We take a synthetic approach, which means we investigate how cells communicate by designing news forms of communication and testing them to see if they work. The investigation is relevant to the fundamental understanding of how animals, including humans, develop and also has potential applications in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and anti-cancer therapies. Students build skills related to fly genetics, molecular biology, the presentation of their work to a wider audience and scientific problem solving.
The completion of the Genetics course is preferred.
This is part of a long term project of which involves the exploration of ligand/receptor bridges in vivo using the powerful Drosophila tools I have developed to manipulate ligand/receptor interactions.
Dr. Josefa Guerrero-Millan
Study involves microfluidics: selected sstudents will be looking at drop sizes, generation frequency, etc.
Student researchers will learn how to build those devices, use high-speed microscopy to do experiments and a bit of image processing to extract data.
Good lab skills, attention to detail, and patience are key for these experiments.
Dr. Eric Vitriol
Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
My lab studies the role of the actin cytoskeleton in cell motility, neural development, and in neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We use live-cell and super-resolution imaging to understand how the dynamic regulation of actin contributes to the normal function of healthy cells, and how defects in actin can cause toxicity and cell death.
Must be willing to commit at least 8 hours per week in the lab. No previous experience needed- we will teach you everything that you need to know!
Dr. Lin Gan
Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
Goal: Our research is centered on identifying genes and genetic processes essential
for the generation of neurons during mammalian embryonic development, understanding
the the underlying molecular mechanisms, and using these genes and processes for neuroregeneration
by promoting the differentiation of neural progenitors into neurons.
Methods: mouse genetics, CRISPR and genome editing, light and confocal imaging, molecular biology and biochemistry approaches, and systems biology approaches.
Curiosity, good work ethic, and persistence. No prior lab experience needed.
Dr. Chung Sub Kim
Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
We employ a multidisciplinary approach toward neuroscience by using biochemical tools, in vitro whole-cell patch-clamp recordings (soma vs. dendrite), in vitro cell-attached recordings (soma vs dendrite), in vivo drug or viral mediated-gene delivery, and behavior to validate the physiological relevance of the findings.
Motivation and a good work ethic
Dr. Hedong Li
Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
My research is focused on miRNA-mediated mechanisms during CNS development and after spinal cord injury (SCI). In addition, I combine the in vivo reprogramming technology with miRNA biology to induce miRNA-mediated neuronal reprogramming from endogenous reactive glial cells for SCI functional repair. Approaches include animal work, cell culture, molecular cloning, etc.
Basic knowledge on cell biology, molecular biology, and motivation for research.
Dr. Lynnette McCluskey
Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
Neural and sensory cell regeneration
Our lab uses the taste system to study how neurons and sensory target cells regenerate after injury. We use transgenic mouse models to see how the immune system helps or harms regeneration. We are also beginning studies to determine how COVID-19 infection might cause taste loss, and how to promote taste bud regeneration and the recovery of sensory function. A third area of research is how gut inflammation affects taste function, relevant to conditions like inflammatory bowl disease.
Students will learn cryosectioning, immunofluorescent labeling of proteins, light and confocal microscopy, image analysis and basic statistics.
Basic pipetting skills and ability to make simple solutions is a plus. We are looking for motivated students and will train in needed techniques.
Dr. Marlo Vernon
Family Medicine and Cancer Center
This project will deliver a sustainable model of evidence-based cancer awareness through health literacy and education, with an emphasis on prevention, screening, and early detection behaviors and provide access and navigation to high-quality cancer screening and early detection services. We will also develop and implement a cancer cultural competency training for health care providers, in collaboration with the community. Finally, we will conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis of these cancer prevention strategies.
Faculty profile: https://www.augusta.edu/faculty/directory/view.php?id=mvernon
Students will assist with conducting interviews with former patients and housing authority
residents about their experiences accessing health care, and what they would like
their physicians to know about how they see race affecting their healthcare. They
may also participate in cancer education delivery during sessions at the Augusta Housing
Students who have experience or familiarity with qualitative research, health education theories and methods, and working knowledge of racial disparities in health are preferred. These skills will all be developed by the students through working on this project.
Students will be asked to commit 5-10 hours a week, to interview residents and patients about their experiences receiving health care and accessing cancer prevention and intervention services.
Dr. Brian Muntean
Pharmacology & Toxicology
Health Sciences Campus CB3616
The goal is to better understand how neurons transduce external stimuli downstream to discrete spatiotemporal patterns of second messenger signals. Integration of signaling events enables neuronal networks to communicate with high fidelity where anomalies in signal decoding mechanisms can have pathological consequences. To uncover the molecular logic utilized by neurons to interrogate a diversity of signaling events, we will investigate the contributions of key elements in the molecular pathways downstream of neurotransmitter stimulation. This will be achieved through CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in neurons expressing biosensors that report cellular activity observable through fluorescence microscopy. The project will additionally use lenti- and adeno-associated virus technology to manipulate gene expression as well as molecular cloning approaches.
Research activities from this project will be similar to those found in some of my recent publications: Cell 2020 Oct 15;183(2):503-521.e19., Cells 2019 Nov 19;8(11):1468, PLoS Biol 2019 Oct 10;17(10):e3000477, Cell Rep 2018 Jul 17;24(3):557-568.e5, Cell Rep 2018 Jan 2;22(1):255-268.
Research will include mammalian cell culture, molecular cloning, and fluorescence microscopy. Experience in these areas preferred but not required.
Dr. Tracy Casanova
Psychiatry and Health Behavior
East Central Regional Hospital
We are completing a systemic review with the aim of presentation and publication on how experiences of interpersonal trauma impact physical health outcomes in the LGBTQ community.
Duties: Reviewing abstracts and full-text articles for inclusion/exclusion, contribute to writing final manuscript (i.e. writing literature review).
Faculty webpage: https://www.augusta.edu/faculty/directory/view.php?id=TCASANOVA
Minimum qualifications: research methods coursework, experience conducting literature
reviews, familiarity with psychological journals, and 2-5 hour weekly commitment.
Preferred qualifications: previous research experience (e.g. honors thesis, research lab), interest in research with LGBTQ community
Dr. Lufei Young
Physiological and Technological Nursing
Health Sciences Campus Office location: EC-4517
This is a secondary data analysis study using AU medical records, students can do this project at home. IRB approval has been received, the student who is interested in this project will be added onto IRB protocol. The student will be given access to AU medical record and extract data from EMR. The end product includes abstract, presentation and manuscripts.
Student will need to complete CITI training.
Dr. Surendra Rajpurohit
Georgia Cancer Center
Health Sciences Campus Office: CN 3116
Development of Transgenic Zebrafish Model Organism to study the cardiomyocyte and Microglia Function in health and disease condition with special reference to the Inflammatory process (NFkB) and Apoptosis (Annexin-V) in Brain Tumor and Heart disease. EGFR/sEGFR-Breast Cancer Research, Role of soluble isoforms (extracellular domains) of EGFR Family members in targeted therapeutics and establishment of sEGFR as Biomarker in Cancer Research. In-vivo automated HTS Drug Discovery by using Zebrafish model in Diabetes beta-cell neogenesis and proliferation, Creation of acute hypoxia in the zebrafish model and its impact on Cardiovascular Biology.
The interested candidate needs to demonstrate the passion to pursue a career in biomedical research. Strong scientific background and laboratory experience. Routine and advanced Computer skills by using research software tools and webs like MAT-LAB, End-note, J-peg, FIJI, etc.
Dr. Jaclyn Murray and Dr. Christi Pace
Department of Teaching and Leading
This study aims to determine the ways in which prospective elementary teachers who participate in model-based inquiry as science learners (a) develop explanations of scientific phenomena with both written and visual descriptions, (b) shift views of knowledge construction in different contexts, and (c) reconsider views of the nature of science.
The Science & Engineering Education Research (SEER) Group in the College of Education’s
Department of Teaching and Leading welcomes applicants for two student assistant positions.
Duties include collecting (interviews) and analyzing qualitative and quantitative
data, preparing practitioner articles for publication, conducting literature reviews,
organizing data, and preparing proposal(s) for extramural funding. Student assistants
will learn to code, categorize, and form themes by interpreting written and visual
forms of data (qualitative data).
We primarily seek applicants with a knowledge of basic physical science and English Language Arts. An interest or knowledge of creating or interacting with augmented or virtual reality environments is a bonus. The position is for Spring 2021 with the potential for Summer and Fall 2021 work. The workload is approximately ten hours per week, and the rate is $8/hr. We will meet as a team weekly or biweekly (paid) to discuss data, progress, and future plans.
To apply for this position, please write a paragraph or two discussing your interest and qualifications. Include the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of no more than three people that can speak to the following characteristics—the ability to (1) complete tasks, (2) work with others, and (3) provide and accept feedback. Review of applications is rolling;
Dr. R. Daniel Rudic
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Health Sciences Campus CB3620 Lab CB3602
Studies the interactions of aging and circadian rhythms in vascular disease. The molecular focus is in identifying the contributions of the transcriptional mechanisms that operate in the inner cell layer of the blood vessel called the endothelium. In addition, there are new areas of research that are unfolding in the lab, which seek to query if and what molecular connections exist between the aging blood vessel and the aging brain, with potential application to Alzheimer's Disease.
Dept of Biological Sciences
Dr. Sangeetha Sukumari-Ramesh
Pharmacology & Toxicology
Health Sciences Campus Office CB3618 / Lab CB3515
Focuses on the identification and characterization of molecular targets of brain injury after intracerebral hemorrhage, a fatal stroke subtype employing both genetic and pharmacological approaches. Serves on AHA study section.
Dr. Brad Reynolds
Children's Hospital of Georgia ER Office: Pavilion II
We are one center in a multi-center study exploring the relationship between the vaccination status for COVID of children patients and their adult companions (usually a parent). The study consists of a survey administered in the pediatric Emergency Department at the Children's Hospital of Georgia, asking the adult companion about their vaccination status, as well as the vaccination status of the children patients. We are looking for research assistants to administer the survey. The research assistants will be in the Emergency Department, and they will approach children patients and their adult companions once they are roomed (typically while they are waiting to see the doctor, or after they've seen the doctor and are waiting for lab or imaging results). The survey will be administered on an iPad, with survey responses entered directly from the iPad into a RedCap database. The goal is to interview 250 patients and their adult companions. This study is a great opportunity to work with Emergency Medicine care providers, get exposure to the Emergency Department, and contribute to a study on an important public health question.
Students must be trained on CITI before beginning the research. Research assistants must be outgoing and willing to approach patients in the ED in a friendly manner. Having an interest in Emergency Medicine, vaccines, or COVID prevention also helps!
In the Summer of 2022, we estimate that each research assistant would spend about 6-8 hours, 4-5 times a week, over a 2-3 week period, in order collectively to reach our ideal sample size.
Please check with us for opportunities at other times of the year.
Dr. Alvin Terry
Pharmacology & Toxicology
Health Sciences Campus Office CB3545A / Lab CB3502
Investigates role of cholinergic systems in memory function, and how it is altered by diseases like schizophrenia and Alzheimer's Disease as well as toxins that are found in the environment such as organophosphate insecticides. He serves on NIH and DOD Study sections and is the current Secretary of the Association of Medical School Pharmacology Chairs (AMSPC).
Dr. Almira Vazdarjanova
Pharmacology & Toxicology
Health Sciences Campus Office CB3624 / Lab CB3503
Uses a multilevel approach to investigate forebrain networks involved in encoding and consolidating of memories for emotional events in models of anxiety and impaired cognitive flexibility with special focus on individual differences. The lab has created an animal model of susceptibility for developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She serves on grant study review sections for NIH, NSF and DOD, and also reviews grants for the VA and the Augusta Biomedical Research Corporation. She is a reviewing editor for Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience.
Nutrient Acquisition by bacteria; E. coli as a Biomarker of Human & Animal Fecal Contamination in Streams & Rivers; Bacterial Physiology and Identification, Antibiotic Resistance
Effect of endocrine disruptors on mLTC-1 Leydig cells
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.
Dr. Darren Browning
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Signaling for the treatment and prevention of intestinal disease. My laboratory aims to understand tissue renewal in the colon, and how this can be manipulated to treat ulcerative colitis and for the prevention of colon cancer. We discovered that increasing cGMP levels with phosphodiesterase inhibitors (e.g. Viagra) can protect the colon epithelium and slow it's turnover. This is therapeutic in mouse models of colitis and colon cancer. We work with colon cancer cell lines, human and mouse intestinal organoids, andmice disease models.
Eric J. Belin de Chantemele
Health Sciences Campus
Dr. Brandon Cromer
A census of frog populations of aquatic habitats in South Carolina; Aquatic turtle species composition, population evaluation, and environmental toxicology
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Health Sciences Campus CB3522 Lab CB3517
Investigates structure and function of G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling complexes. His work uses biophysical methods such as resonance energy transfer and confocal imaging in living cells to investigate receptor quaternary structure and receptor-G protein coupling. Serves on NIH study sections.
Dr. Bruce Saul
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).
Dr. Jessica Reichmuth
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
Dr. Donna Wear
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
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.
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.
Dr. XinYun Lu
Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine
Health Sciences Campus CA3006
Depression, PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, neural plasticity, epigenetics
The long-term goal of our research is to understand the molecular, cellular and circuit bases of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, especially those with comorbid metabolic conditions. Obesity and type 2 diabetes are associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety and dementia. Adipose tissue has been recognized as a highly active metabolic and endocrine organ, secreting a number of proteins, termed adipokines, that function as hormones. We are interested in how adipokines participate in synaptic transmission, regulate the activity of neural circuitry, orchestrate behavioral and cognitive responses to emotionally and motivationally relevant stimuli and tune adaptation to experiences and environmental changes in a sex-specific and age-dependent manner. The laboratory’s strengths are in our multidisciplinary capabilities and systemic approaches.
The adipocyte-PPARγ/adiponectin/AdipoR-neuron axis in Alzheimer’s disease
Epigenetics, aging and Alzheimer’s disease
Distinct roles of POMC and AgRP neurons in chronic stress-induced depressive behaviors
Adipokines (leptin and adiponectin), depression and PTSD
We accept motivated undergraduate students who are interested in biomedical research.
Dr. Ferenc Deak
Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine
Health Sciences Campus CA4010
Alzheimer's disease and Memory
Project: How does Aging effect Synaptic Neurotransmission and contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease
Title: Early signs of Alzheimer's Disease caused by dysregulation of Synaptic Neurotransmission.
There are more than 5 million patients in the USA, who suffer from Alzheimer's disease (AD). Cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease is thought to be the result of disturbed neuronal communication due to synaptic dysfunction. Aggregated amyloid beta protein accumulates in AD, a process leading to impaired neuronal communication. In a series of studies we investigate why aging is the most relevant risk factor to Alzheimer’s dementia. We test the age-related changes in a set of essential synaptic proteins, which regulate vesicular neurotransmitter release from synapses and their effect on beta-amyloid secretion. Maintaining physiological synaptic function while reducing amyloid secretion may provide a breakthrough to design effective therapies that halt progression of dementia in Alzheimer's disease.
Lab website: https://www.augusta.edu/mcg/dnrm/faculty/fdeak.php
Dr. Quanguang Zhang
Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine
Health Sciences Campus . CA3020
Neurodegeneration, resulting from ischemic brain injury or conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), results in lifelong neurological impairments. Clinically, there are no effective drugs available to protect the brain from cerebral ischemia-induced neuronal impairment or from the progressive cognitive decline associated with AD. Work in our lab seeks potential neuroprotective treatments and/or therapies against brain damage and cognitive decline caused by ischemic stroke, cardiac arrest, AD, and neonatal hypoxia-ischemia. Our research interests include ischemic neuroprotection, photobiomodulation therapy, brain repair, exercise, and repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) treatment.