Houghton’s biology department gives both students and faculty a variety of opportunities for both individual and collaborative research.
The department is particularly excited about our new curriculum which encourages faculty-student collaborative research. Each faculty member has one semester each year to work with a small group of students (maximum of six per professor) focusing on a research area in biology where the faculty member has interest and expertise. The students in that research team - under the direction of their professor - work as a group to gain knowledge and training on original research. Up to five credit hours are awarded to each student for such work, which usually involves lab and field work, keeping a journal, reviewing literature, data analysis, and a public presentation of their work. Within the last year more than a dozen students have participated in student-faculty collaborative research and several students have or will present their findings at regional and national scientific meetings. Joint publication by these student-faculty teams in scientific journals is expected within the next year.
Senior students are encouraged to work on senior honors research under the guidance of a departmental faculty member. The rising senior student submits an honors proposal for research at the end of their junior year to the faculty Curriculum Review Committee, which evaluates it for approval. The senior student then completes a year of research under the guidance of the advisor. The results of the research is presented by the student as a scientific manuscript to a faculty committee (including the adviser) and defended in an oral defense, similar to that which graduate master's students complete. Upon successful completion, the bound manuscript is submitted to the Houghton library, and the student may be encouraged to submit the research for publication in an appropriate scientific journal. Twenty-three biology students have successfully completed honors research within the last decade and their topics across a wide field of biological sub-disciplines are listed below.
Faculty research within the biology department is supported through the faculty-student collaborative research curriculum as well as the Moreland Chair. Within the department, two faculty members are supported through the endowment of the Moreland Chair. This has translated into summer monetary support of the faculty and student assistants to do research. Over the last three summers, students have been given a monetary stipend and free housing to work on research supported by the Moreland Chair.
Recent Research by Houghton Faculty:
- "Production of Recombinant Proteins in Plants," Associate Professor Matthew Pelletier
- "An Evaluation of Threat-Sensitive Behavioral Responses by Salamanders," Assistant Professor Aaron Sullivan
Biology Senior Honors Projects since 1994:
- "Intestinal Leukocyte Infiltration Mediation by Meprin Beta"
- "Fine-scale genetic mapping and cloning of the Transparent Testa 9 locus in Arabidopsis thaliana"
- "Assessment of Photosynthetic Bacteria in Spring Lake in situ and in Lake Simulation Experiments"
- "The Effects of Substance P and Cortisone on Beta Amyloid Neurodegeneration in Rats"
- "Birds of Allegany County: Seasonal Checklists and Historical Trends"
- "The Effects of Topically Applied Progesterone on Induced Premature Labor in Rats"
- "Seasonality of Benthic Macroinvertebrates and Water Quality in Two Streams in Allegany County"
- "The Effects of Exogenous Mealtonin on Sleep and REM Latencies in Rats When Administered During the Light Period Versus the Dark Period"
- "Differences in Shoreline Vegetation Between Impounded and Natural Northern Maine Lakes"
- "Seasonality of Benthic Macroinvertebrates and Water Quality of Houghton and Crawford Creeks, Allegany County, New York"
- "The Timed Response of Superoxide Dismutase to Oxidative Stress"
- "Development of a Reliable Technique to Ascertain Microspore Viability in Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)"
- "Risk and Analysis Behavior Survey at Houghton College"
- "A Comparison of Small Mammal Population Densities and Diversity in Habitats of Varying Successional Stages"
- "The Effects of Interleuken-10 on Ameboid Microglia in Rats"
- "Identification of Stress-induced Protein in Embryogenic Microspores of Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)"
- "The Isolation and Partial Characterization of Frog (Rana sp.) Plasminogen"
- "Detection of Substances Released from Cultured Ovaries of Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)"
- "The Physical and Chemical Effects of a Small Dam on Wiscoy Creek"
- "The Effects of Ecological Succession on the Community Dynamics of Small Mammals in Old-Field and Hawthorn Seral Stages"
- "IgE Response to Mode of Delivery of Aspergillus fumigatus in the Murine Model"
- "A Limnological Study of Three Softwater Lakes in Southeastern Connecticut"
- "The Histological Localization of Heparin in Mercenaria mercenaria"
- "Interaction of Phosphorus, Chlorophyll a, and Phytoplankton in Spring Lake"
- "Transgenic Expression of the Porcine Peptide Hormone Relaxin in Arabidopsis thaliana"