- Molecular and cellular biology
Nature of the Research
- Wet lab/bench research
- Basic research
- Structure and Function: Basic units of structure define the function of all living things.
- Applying the process of science
- Communicating and collaborating
- Understanding the relationship between science and society
- Discuss toxicity/how cellular processes are affected by environmental agents
- Design an experiment to discover which cellular processes are affected by the agents they choose .
- Link cell/molecular biology of yeast to real-world environmental and ecological issues.
- Treat cells with various environmental agents; measure growth, viability, gene expression and mating success.
In our General Biology III (molecular and cellular biology) CURE lab, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used as a system to study how environmental chemicals affect gene expression, cell reproduction, and viability. Students focus on using yeast to represent eukaryotic cells in general, emphasizing that we all share the same molecules, cell structures, and cellular processes. Over the course of the semester we investigate substances that create cellular stress, emphasizing the consequences to the cell and to the organism as a whole. Finally, we invite students to select agents from a list of environmental contaminants (fracking chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, etc.,) and design experiments to determine if the selected agents affect cellular processes.