The Undergraduate Research Journal
Bats are important keystone species which provide ecosystem services by consuming a variety of insects and agricultural pests. Many native bat species are currently threatened with either habitat loss or emerging infectious diseases, including White Nose Syndrome. Therefore, there is a need to develop survey approaches which increase accessibility to citizen scientists and researchers alike to monitor populations, such as with emerging, affordable smartphone enabled technologies.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable and interesting evolutionary adaptations is flight. Long before humans cracked the code to heavier-than-air locomotion, however, another peculiar mammal mastered the air: bats. Bats share few characteristics with other flying organisms such as birds. Unlike birds and flying insects which rely on eyesight, bats count on echolocation to navigate and hunt. Just as unique as bat’s physical differences is its ecological niche. Bat populations target insects and agricultural pests, disperse seeds, and pollinate plants.
Affecting over 35 million people a year, the number of infected individuals continues to grow because there is currently no cure to eliminate HIV. Two scientists at Temple Health have manipulated mouse genomes to display human immunity and the effect of two different treatments on the mice after HIV is injected into the rodents. They have found promising results in ridding the mouse cells of any traces of inducible HIV DNA, are looking to further their research in hopes of soon using human subjects.
“I’ve never had a day that I don’t want to go to work. I’m so lucky to get to learn something new every single day.” - Jeremy Day, the Principal Investigator of the Day Lab, a neurobiology lab located in Birmingham, Alabama. Day grew up in Huntsville, Alabama with the initial goal of becoming an architect.
Dr. Amanda Freise is a professor and lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (MIMG). She and her students are involved in the Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) national virology research program, which enables undergraduates nationwide to conduct studies on newly-discovered viruses.