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EMU Summer Science Research Program for High School Students

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Three week summer science research program for high school students.
  • High school students will be paired and matched with a faculty and student mentor in either Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.  Every effort will be made to match high school students’ interests with research projects.
  • In addition to learning key techniques in their particular area, students will get a flavor for how research works.  They will learn to observe and record data, to interpret their findings, and to communicate their research in the form of a scientific poster presentation at the end of the three week period.
  • Students will get training in science lab safety, research ethics, and how to prepare an effective scientific presentation.
  • Please complete the application form prior to enrolling. Scholarships are available for qualified students.
Faculty participants include:

Professor Anne Casper
DNA damage leads to mutations if it is not repaired correctly. Mutations are a double-edged sword: They are source of evolutionary change, but they are also the source of cancer development. Using yeast as a model organism and a variety of molecular genetics techniques, our lab studies the key steps and proteins in DNA repair pathways. Our research helps explain how DNA is altered in tumors and may suggest how DNA repair pathways could be used as targets for cancer treatment.

Professor Daniel Clemans
My lab studies how microbes interact both in the environment and in the human gut. We ask such questions as "who do the microbes hang around with?" and "who do they talk to while in nature or in the human gut?" Some of the techniques we use are simple test tube assays for microbial interactions, biofilm assays to look at the community profile, bioinformatics to ask who is there, and other assays to determine how they communicate. The goal is to determine how microbial communities change with different food sources, and how they impact their

Professor Thomas Mast
About 100,000 American suffer from deficits due to stroke every year. These deficits are caused by molecular changes in neurons—the brain cells that directly control thoughts and movements.  Yet, no drugs exist that promote recovery following stroke.   Therefore, our goal is to identify ways that potential drug treatments could work to treat stroke.

Professor Paul Price
According to the World Health Organization and the United States Department of Agriculture, the lack of development of new antibiotics against multi-drug resistant pathogens is a major cause for concern. Many life-threatening infections are becoming increasingly
difficult to treat, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Using a combination of different microbe isolation techniques and organic extracts of secondary metabolites, our lab mines soil microorganisms in the search for potentially new antibiotics to treat these deadly infections.

Professor Hannah Seidel
Stem cells are essential for life. Stem cells allow our bodies to grow during development, and stem cells maintains our bodies during adulthood. But how do stem cells know when to divide? How is their behavior influenced by physiological changes, such as changes in nutrition or reproductive state? Our lab studies these questions in the model organism C. elegans(roundworm), using a variety of genetic and cell biological techniques.

Professor Dave Pawlowski
In my computational space research lab, students study the interactions between the Sun and the Earth and Mars atmospheres and space environment using cutting edge computational tools.  Currently, the focus of the group is on analyzing the sources of variability in these systems and how they are altered by extreme solar events such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections.  Students work with data from a variety of NASA missions as well as results from global hydrodynamic models of the Earth and Mars upper atmosphere.
Professor Jonathan Skuza
Technological advances in science, especially physics and materials science, are all around us. One example that we encounter every day is data storage on our computers, phones, USB memory sticks, and other devices. Our storage capacity has increased approximately one billion times since IBM created the first magnetic hard disk drive in 1956. My lab uses a number of techniques to examine the properties of thin film materials, such as these hard disk drives, that are on the order of nanometers (billionths of a meter) in size. This is approximately 1000 times thinner than the thickness of the hair on your head! Investigating these properties and the underlying physics allows us to change and control these properties in our technological devices to make them smaller, faster, and more efficient.
Professor Brittany Albaugh
In the United States, cancer is one of the leading causes of death, second only to heart disease. While there has been significant progress in the treatment of cancer, the molecular causes of cancer development remain poorly understood.  Our lab studies the molecular and biochemical mechanisms, namely genetic and epigenetic regulation, that underlie cancer development.
Professor Steven Backues
Autophagy means "self-eating" - on a cellular level.  It is a process that moves material from the cytoplasm (the "body" of the cell) in to the lysosome / vacuole (the "stomach" of the cell) where it can be broken down and the nutrients recycled.  This helps the cell to survive during starvation conditions.  It also helps to keep the cell healthy by getting rid of things in the cytoplasm that shouldn't be there, like dangerous pathogens or broken and malfunctioning cell components.  For both of these reasons, autophagy is critical for maintaining human health.  Our lab uses the model organism baker's yeast to study the proteins that carry out autophagy in order to understand how this process works on a molecular level.  This knowledge will be critical to the development of new drugs can that take advantage of autophagy to help to prevent infectious and neurodegenerative diseases and benefit our health.

Class Details

15 Sessions
Weekly - Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri


EMU Science Faculty 



Please read:  There will be no class on July 4th.

Course Fee: 


Registration Closes On
Monday, June 25, 2018 @ 12:00 AM

Schedule Information

Skip dates: (No class on 07/04/2018)

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
6/25/2018 - 7/16/2018 Weekly - Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM TBD EMU Science Faculty