2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

Undergraduate Research in Scientific Inquiry with A. Brabban

Fall 2011, Winter 2012 and Spring 2012 quarters

Andrew Brabban biology, genetics, microbiology
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
biology, biotechnology, health sciences.

Rigorous quantitative and qualitative research is an important component of academic learning in Scientific Inquiry. This independent learning opportunity allows advanced students to delve into real-world research with faculty who are currently engaged in specific projects. Students typically begin by working in apprenticeship with faculty or laboratory staff and gradually take on more independent projects within the context of the specific research program as they gain experience. Students can develop vital skills in research design, data acquisition and interpretation, written and oral communication, collaboration, and critical thinking that are valuable for students pursuing a graduate degree or entering the job market.

Andrew Brabban (biotechnology) studies microbiology and biotechnology, focusing particularly on bacteriophages as model organisms in molecular genetics, as major players in microbial ecology and as therapeutically important antimicrobials. His research (in collaboration with phage biologist Elizabeth Kutter) involves approximately 12 students each year who explore bacterial metabolism and the infection process under a variety of environmental conditions, phage ecology and genomics, and the application of phages as antibacterial agents targeting human and animal problems. Current projects include the development of phage treatments to control Escherichia coli O157:H7 in the guts of livestock and Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections of both humans and dogs. Studies of such infections under anaerobic and stationary-phase conditions and in biofilms are under way, as are studies of phage interactions in cocktails and the sequencing/genomics of phages. Students who commit at least a full year to the research project, enrolling for 4 to 16 credits each quarter, will learn a broad range of microbiology and molecular techniques, with opportunities for internships at the USDA and elsewhere, and to present data at national and international conferences.

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