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Research student in the labStudent Researcher in lab18-01.19-plant-extraction_small_1048.jpgp1070316.jpg

As professors, we are interested in facilitating learning experiences not only in the classroom and teaching lab, but also through research opportunities. Working on research with a faculty member allows students to gain real life experience in experimental design, data collection, specimen identification, specimen curation, and data analysis. These experiences allow our students to be very competitive for entrance to post-undergraduate degree programs, whether they are in ecology, genetics, biochemistry, or in medicine and human health.

Students who are interested in doing research may contact one or more of the faculty mentors listed below.

Research Opportunities in the Department

St. Mary's Saccomanno Research Institute/Colorado Mesa University Internship Program in Biological Research

This internship program provides an opportunity for highly motivated undergraduates and recent graduates to perform hands-on biological research in the summer or during the academic year. Interns work under the guidance of an experienced scientist on real research projects, allowing participants to experience the excitement, challenges and creativity of research. The Program compensates each summer intern with $5,000.00 so that they can work full-time during the summer on a project with a faculty mentor.  Academic Year interns will receive $3,375. At the end of the experience, interns present their research to the public. The 2021 SIPBR Application is now available!  Applications are due by March 12th, 2021. For more information, please see the application itself!

 

Receiving College Credit for Research

Under the supervision of a professor, the student can participate in the research while simultaneously earning college credit by taking one of the following courses:

BIOL 387--Structured Research

Under the supervision of a faculty mentor, students learn the techniques associated with the mentor's field of research and collaborate with the professor to collect and analyze data. Students must have the permission of the supervising mentor to enroll in the class, which can be taken for a variable number of credits.

BIOL 487--Advanced Research

After taking BIOL 387, students may continue to refine their skills in research by taking this course. Students continue to delve deeper into the research conducted by the faculty mentor and contribute to the research being conducted by the professor. Students must have the permission of the supervising mentor to enroll in the class, which can be taken for a variable number of credits.

Research Facilities for Cell and Molecular Biology

The Molecular Genetics Research Laboratory at Colorado Mesa University provides the space and equipment for research conducted with undergraduates and for class projects. The research conducted here include projects on the molecular basis for cell motility, the population genetics of polychaetous worms, the molecular phylogenetics of solanaceous plants, and the molecular characterization of biocontrol species. Classes that benefit from the lab include Genetics, Molecular Genetics, Laboratory Investigations in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Evolution, and Forensic Molecular Biology.

Opportunities for Research in Organismal Biology

Students interested in research in the area of organismal biology have the opportunity to conduct research in the field. For example students have conducted field research on small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects and plants in places that include Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Ecuador and Iceland. In addition to field based research, students undertaking projects that require more controlled environments have access to the CMU Animal Room, the CMU Greenhouse Facility and the Walter Almond Kelley Herbarium. These spaces are also utilized by a number of classes including Fish Biology, Mammalogy, Herpetology, Principles of Plant Biology, Plant Anatomy, Plant Physiology, Plant ID, Plant Systematics and Taxonomy of Grasses.   

Student Successes

Chandler Baldwin: Mr. Baldwin is a middle school Science teacher at American Academy - Motsenbocker campus in Parker, Colorado.  Chandler conducted undergraduate research with Dr. Margot Becktell and presented his work at the CMU Student Showcase.

Rachel Baldwin: Ms. Baldwin is earning her D.O. from Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Rachel was an undergraduate student and a participant in the Saccomano Internship Program in Biological Research under the supervision of Dr. Zeynep Ozsoy

Marissa Bickel: Ms. Bickel is seeking her MS Degree at the University of Northern Colorado.  Marissa was an undergraduate student with Dr. Kyle McQuade during her time at CMU.

Justin Blaskowski: Mr. Blaskowski is earning his D.O. from the School of Western University of Health Sciences COMP-Northwest in Lebanon, Oregon.  Justin worked with Dr. Margot Becktell as an undergraduate research student and presented his research at the CMU Student Showcase.

Robin Bonner: Ms. Bonner is a Fish Culturist with New Mexico Game and Fish.  Robin conducted undergraduate research with Dr. Johanna Varner.

Kristine Crippen: Ms. Crippen worked with Dr. Eriek Hansen as an undergraduate research student and presented her work at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Reno, Nevada.

Jacob Eggers: Mr. Eggers is a Fisheries Technician for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  Jacob conducted research with Dr. Eriek Hansen

Amber Gillard: Ms. Gillard is in the Physician Assistant Program at CMU.  Amber conducted research under the supervision of Dr. Kyle McQuade.

Austin Hadley: Mr. Hadley is a middle school Science and Social Studies teacher at Orchard Mesa Middle School.  Austin conducted research with Dr. Zeynep Ozsoy and won first place for his track at the CMU Student Showcase.

Molly Kubesh: Ms. Kubesh was accepted into the MD/Ph.D. program at Creighton University.  Molly worked with Dr. Kyle McQuade as an undergraduate research student while at CMU.

Meg Margeson: Ms. Margeson earned her Physician Assistant degree from Pacific University.  Meg worked with Dr. Kyle McQuade as an undergraduate research student at CMU. 

Tabitha McFarland: Ms. McFarland worked with Dr. Johanna Varner and presented her work at the meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists held in Washington, DC in 2019.

Kristina Morben: Ms. Morben works at the Idaho Fish and Game Clearwater Region in Idaho.  Kristina worked as an undergraduate research student under the supervision of Dr. Eriek Hansen and presented her work at the Joint Meeting of Utah and Colorado/Wyoming Chapters of the American Fisheries Society held in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Krystie Murphy: Ms. Murphy is seeking her D.O. at Liberty University of Osteopathic Medicine.  Krystie conducted research with Dr. Zeynep Ozsoy.

Ashley Pennington: Ms. Pennington is an Allergy and Immunology Specialist at United Allergy Services.  Ashley was an undergraduate student under the supervision of Dr. Zeynep Ozsoy.

Sophia Reck: Ms. Reck, now an MA student in Anthropology at Louisiana State University, worked with Dr. Eriek Hansen as an undergraduate at CMU.  Sophia is also a co-author on a paper published on the work she did as an undergraduate. Hansen, E. S., C. Baigent, S. I. Reck, and M. Connor. 2018. Bioelectrical impedance as a technique for estimating postmortem interval. Journal of Forensic Sciences 62(4): 1186-1190. click here to access the paper

Taylor Richardson: Ms. Richardson is seeking her graduate degree at Miami University.  Taylor worked with Dr. Johanna Varner as an undergraduate student at CMU.

Olivia Sayer: Ms. Sayer is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Olivia was an undergraduate research student under the supervision of Dr. Kyle McQuade.

Amanda Stahlke: Dr. Stahlke recently completed her Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Idaho.  Amanda worked as an undergraduate student for Dr. Zeynep Ozsoy.  Amanda presented her work at the Riparian Restoration in the Western U.S. Tamarisk Coalition's Research Management Conference held in Grand Junction, Colorado as well as the CMU Student Showcase and the Tri Beta Honor Society meeting, where she won awards at the regional and national levels.

Tyler Walton: Mr. Walton is a Fisheries Technician with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  Mr. Walton conducted research under the supervision of Dr. Eriek Hansen.

Brooklyn Waterhouse:  Ms. Waterhouse worked with Dr. Johanna Varner as an undergraduate student.  Brooklyn presented her work at the American Society of Mammologists meeting held in Moscow Idaho in 2017 and again at the meeting held in Washington D.C. in 2019.  Ms. Waterhouse is also a co-author on a publication based on the work she did on American pikas, Camp MG, Shipley L, Waterhouse BD, Varner J. (in press). Activity patterns and foraging behavior of American pikas (Ochotona princeps) differs between Craters of the Moon and alpine talus in Idaho. Western North American Naturalist. 

Shay West: Dr. West received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and is now an instructor at Colorado Mesa University. As an undergraduate, she worked with Dr. Steve Werman.

Katharyn Woodard: Ms. Woodard earned her PA degree from the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth.  Katharyn worked with Dr. Zeynep Ozsoy.  During her time as an undergraduate, Katharyn presented her research at a Tri Beta Honor Society Meeting and for the CMU Student Showcase.

Brandy Worth: Ms. Worth is an Evidence Technician with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.  Brandy conducted research with Dr. Eriek Hansen.