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Biology

Biology Undergraduate Research

Take advantage of your Butler opportunities. Faculty members in Biological Sciences welcome students into their laboratories. Check out our Faculty page and click on a name to view a professor's area of expertise. Visit and talk with them as early in your career as possible. Although most undergraduate research is done in the junior and senior years, some students begin as early as the freshman year.

Students may earn credit (or, occasionally, money) by working one on one with faculty during the academic year. Research is also an important part of the Honors Program. Students interested in an intensive research experience are encouraged to apply for the Butler Summer Institute. More information about undergraduate research programs at Butler can be found at the Butler Institute for Research and Scholarship website.

Every April, students present their results at the Butler Undergraduate Research Conference, which draws participants from more than forty midwestern colleges and universities. Students may also apply for funds to travel to other regional or national meetings, via the Holcomb Undergraduate Grants program.

Students may also want to apply for Biology Internships which are available throughout Indianapolis, the state of Indiana, and surrounding states. Click on the link above or contact the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at 317-940-9224.

Ten Reasons to do Undergraduate Research

  • It's fascinating! (At least we think so.)
  • Looks great on graduate and professional school applications.
  • Do you really want graduate school? Helps you find out....
  • Valuable experience!
  • Required for the Honors Program.
  • Gives you a better feel for "real science" than classroom labs.
  • Resumé builder.
  • Fun!
  • Butler Summer Institute participants get summer housing and stipend.
  • Show off your results at the Undergraduate Research Conference.

2020

Margaret Broderick, “Development of novel microsatellite markers for detecting hybridization events between the Intermediate Wood Fern (Dryopteris intermedia) and its close relatives” Spring 2019 – present (Mentor: Emily Gillespie)

Darby DeFord, “Analysis of the thermal stability of a diverse panel of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) strains.” Fall 2016 – Spring 2019 / BSI 2017 / Honors Thesis (Mentor: Christopher Stobart)

Carly Dobert, “Seasonal activity patterns of raccoons within an urban landscape” Spring 2019 – present (Mentor: Carmen Salsbury)

Angie Dusak, “ Investigating the regulation of E-cadherin and Moesin in the Germline Ring Canals of Drosophila melanogaster Egg Chamber” BSI 2018 / Honors Thesis, Spring 2019 (Mentor: Lindsay Lewellyn)

Lauren Goertzen, “B.E.A.K: Butler Explores Avian Kollisions - Physiological plasticity in migratory birds: gizzard morphology.” Fall 2018 – Spring 2020 (Mentor: Shelley Etnier)

Makenzie Kurtz, “Global and seasonal wing pattern variation in a widespread butterfly.” Spring 2019 – present (Mentor: Andrew Stoehr)

Mackenzie McQueen, “Co-evolution of monarch butterflies and their milkweed host plants.” Fall 2019 – present (Mentor: Emily Gillespie)

Jane Pahud, “Global and seasonal wing pattern variation in a widespread butterfly.” Fall 2019 – Spring 2020 (Mentor: Andrew Stoehr)

Megan Schroeder, “Population Density of the Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) in Central Indiana: Establishing a Base-Line for Long-Term Monitoring.” Fall 2019 – present (Mentor: Travis Ryan)

Umayr Shaikh, “Examining Size Scaling Relationships in the Developing Drosophila Egg Chamber.” BSI 2019. (Mentor: Lindsay Lewellyn)

Kara Stark, “Levels of the adaptor protein, Dreadlocks, must be precisely regulated during development of the Drosophila egg chamber."  BSI 2017 / Honors Thesis, Spring 2020 (Mentor: Lindsay Lewellyn)

Josephine Thestrup, "Determining the role for the Arp2/3 complex and the formin, Diaphanous, in the germline of the developing Drosophila egg chamber.” (Mentor: Lindsay Lewellyn)

Addison Trapp, “Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) leaf nest densities in suburban woodlots and residential areas” Fall 2019 – present (Mentor: Carmen Salsbury)

Allison Welz, “Phylogeographic history of Sand Myrtle (Kalmia buxifolia)” Spring 2019 – present (Mentor: Emily Gillespie)

Reagan Wohlford, “Determining the role for the adaptor, Dreadlocks, in the somatic follicle cells of the developing fruit fly egg.” BSI 2019. (Mentor: Lindsay Lewellyn)

2019

Cindy Cifuentes, “Vegetation Structure and Urban Wildlife Occupancy”. Fall 2018 – Spring 2019 (Mentor: Julia Angstmann, Travis Ryan, Carmen Salsbury)

Jake Gerard, “Effects of an Urban College Campus Environment on Indianapolis Wildlife”. Fall 2018 – December 2019 (Mentor: Julia Angstmann, Travis Ryan, Carmen Salsbury)

Lauren Goertzen, “B.E.A.K: Butler Explores Avian Kollisions - Physiological plasticity in migratory birds: gizzard morphology.” Fall 2018 – Spring 2019 (Mentor: Shelley Etnier)

Ethan Kitt, “Identification of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the microbiota of local squirrel population.” Spring 2017 – Spring 2019 (Mentor: Mike Trombley)

Becca Lewis “Sustainable agriculture in urban systems of Indianapolis”. Fall 2017 – Spring 2019 (Mentor: Sean Berthrong)

Spencer Lybrook, “Sustainable agriculture in urban systems of Indianapolis”. Fall 2017 – Spring 2019 (Mentor: Sean Berthrong)

Elly Mawi “Localization and functionality of the SUMO conjugating enzyme UBC-9 in C. elegans neurons” BSI 2017 / Honors Thesis, Spring 2019 (Mentor: Jennifer Kowalski)

Emily Nettesheim “Neuronal localization of FSHR-1 expression using CRISPR/Cas9 in C. elegans.” Fall 2017– Spring 2019, BSI 2018 (Mentor: Jennifer Kowalski)

Taylor Prechtel “Investigation of SYD-2 as a neuronal substrate of the anaphase-promoting complex enzyme in C. elegans” BSI 2017 / Honors Thesis, Spring 2019 (Mentor: Jennifer Kowalski)

David Ryskamp “Investigation of the FSHR-1 receptor and its downstream pathway components in neuromuscular signaling” BSI 2018 / Honors Thesis, Spring 2019 (Mentor: Jennifer Kowalski)

Matt Tille, “Identification of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the microbiota of local squirrel population.” Spring 2017 – Spring 2019 (Mentor: Mike Trombley)

Kelsea Zitt, “B.E.A.K: Butler Explores Avian Kollisions -  Mitigation proposal for ‘bird death zones’ on Butler's Campus.” Fall 2018 – Spring 2019 (Mentor: Shelley Etnier) 

2018

David Emch “Investigation of the FSHR-1 Receptor as a Potential Substrate of the Anaphase-Promoting Complex at the C. elegans Neuromuscular Junction” BSI 2017 / Honor Thesis, Spring 2018 (Mentor: Jennifer Kowalski)

Parker Hiday, “B.E.A.K: Butler Explores Avian Kollisions - Cranial density of Swainson's Thrush.” Fall 2018 – Spring 2019 (Mentor: Shelley Etnier)

Mahmood Kedo, “Gender neutral bathroom surfaces recolonized by bacteria faster than single gender bathrooms.” Fall 2017 – Fall 2018 (Mentor: Sean Berthrong)

Elissa Peck, “B.E.A.K: Butler Explores Avian Kollisions – Window-strike Photo Atlas and Flight mechanics of Swainson's Thrush.” Fall 2017 – Spring 2018 (Mentor: Shelley Etnier)

Salman Qureshi, “Gender neutral bathroom surfaces recolonized by bacteria faster than single gender bathrooms.” Fall 2017 – Fall 2018 (Mentor: Sean Berthrong)

Alexi Zaniker, "Indy Wildlife Watch: Impact of Vegetation Structure on Presence of Wildlife in Urban Environments". Spring 2017 – Spring 2018 (Mentor: Julia Angstmann, Travis Ryan, Carmen Salsbury)

2017

McKenna Albers, “B.E.A.K: Butler Explores Avian Kollisions - Characterization of Building Aspects which affect Bird Window-Strikes.” Spring 2017 (Mentor: Shelley Etnier)

Lauryn Campagnoli “The investigation of SYD-2 Liprinα as a potential substrate of the Anaphase Promoting Complex in C. elegans.” USRP 2015-2016 / Honor Thesis Spring 2017 (Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Kowalski)

Victoria Kreyden “Investigation of the Neuronal Functions of the SUMO Conjugating Enzyme UBC-9 at the C. elegans Neuromuscular Junction” BSI 2016 / Honors Thesis, Spring 2017 (Mentor: Jennifer Kowalski) **2016 ASCB Undergraduate Poster Competition Winner**

Jacob Reeves, “Indy Wildlife Watch: A large-scale investigation of urban wildlife.”  Spring 2017. (Mentors: Julia Angstman, Travis Ryan and Carmen Salsbury)

Clayton Taylor, “Human Antimicrobial Peptide Resistance Discovered in Plant Pathogens Pseudomonas syringae and Erwinina amylovora” BSI/Honors Thesis, Spring 2017 (Mentor: Mike Trombley)

Gabrielle Vinyard, “Investigation of the anthropogenic effects on tree squirrel (Sciurus niger) distribution and abundance in urban residential areas.” Spring 2015 to Spring 2017. (Mentor: Carmen Salsbury)

2016

Emily Burton, “Cyclopropane fatty acid synthase gene expression in cotton radicles.” 2015-2016. (Mentor: Katherine Schmid)

Lauryn Campagnoli, “Investigation of SYD-2 as a potential substrate of the Anaphase Promoting Complex in promoting GABA release at the C. elegans neuromuscular junction.”  Fall 2016. (Mentor:  Jennifer Kowalski)

Kyle Cherry “Investigation of the localization and expression of the G-protein coupled receptor FSHR-1 in C. elegans neurons” Honors Thesis, Spring 2016 (Mentor: Jennifer Kowalski)

Olivia Crowe, “Determination of the role of Dreadlocks (Dock) in the growth of the germline ring canals in the developing Drosophila melanogaster egg chamber."  Fall 2016. (Mentor:  Lindsay Lewellyn)

David Ediger, “B.E.A.K: Butler Explores Avian Kollisions - Mitigation approaches for new and existing buildings.” Spring 2016 (Mentor: Shelley Etnier)

Amber Kline “Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) rescues neuromuscular defects associated with expression of the mammalian Down Syndrome critical gene Dyrk1a in C. elegans motor neurons” Fall 2015 – Spring 2016. (Mentor: Jennifer Kowalski)

Ashley Kline,“Characterizing a Role for the Misshapen Kinase in the Growth of the Germline Ring Canals in the Developing Egg Chamber.”  Fall 2016. (Mentor:  Lindsay Lewellyn)

Victoria Kreyden, “Investigation of the neuronal functions of the SUMO conjugating enzyme UBC-9 at the C. elegans neuromuscular junction."  Fall 2016. (Mentor:  Jennifer Kowalski) **2016 ASCB Undergraduate Poster Competition Winner**

Shelby Miller, “The Developmental Mechanisms of Phenotypic Plasticity in Butterfly Wing Patterns.” BSI/Honors  Thesis 2016. (Mentor: Andrew Stoehr)

Allyson Munneke “Investigation of the Role of the FSHR-1 Protein in Regulating Synaptic Transmission at the Neuromuscular Junction of C. elegans” BSI 2015 / Honors Thesis, Spring 2016. (Mentor: Jennifer Kowalski)

Kayla Nienhaus, “Seasonal variation in wing patterns of the cabbage white butterfly.”  Fall 2016. (Mentor: Andrew Stoehr)

2015

Morgan Blake, “The Role of Calcium in Pathogen Defense Responses in the Moss Mnium cuspidatum.” Butler Summer Institute Summer 2015. (Mentor: Phil Villani)

Shataakshi Dube “A novel enzyme-activated fluorescence system is useful for studying the substrate specificity of gut hydrolases in Caenorhabditis elegans Honor Thesis, Spring 2015 (Mentor: Jennifer Kowalski)

Isabella Lambert, “Geographical and Temporal Variation in Wing Patterns in the Cabbage White Butterfly.” Honors Thesis 2015. (Mentor: Andrew Stoehr)

Daniel Lester “Investigation of the active zone protein SYD-2 Liprinα as a substrate of the Anaphase-promoting complex ubiquitin ligase at the C. elegans Neuromuscular Junction” Fall 2013 – Spring 2015, BSI 2014.  (Mentor: Jennifer Kowalski)

Tyler Schenck, “Determination of Hydrogen Peroxide Production during Hypersensitive Responseof Physcomitrella patens.” Butler Summer Institute Summer 2015. (Mentor: Phil Villani)

Dakota Speck, “The ontogenetic effects on the shell strength of turtles." May 2015. (Mentor: Shelley Etnier)

Brad Weinstein, “Muscle mass, wing morphology, and related flight mechanics in passeriforme birds.” May 2015. (Mentor: Shelley Etnier)

Billy Weldon, “The Role of Light in Mnium cuspidatum Hypersensitive Response Defense Mechanisms to Pythium irregulare Pathogen Infection.” Honors thesis Spring 2015. (Mentor: Phil Villani)

Devin VanWanzeele, “Effects of temperature, photoperiod and nutrients on wing patterns in the cabbage white butterfly.” Honors Thesis 2015. (Mentor: Andrew Stoehr)