Biotechnology refers to laboratory techniques such as genetic engineering, recombinant DNA, tissue culture, and horizontal gene transfer, to make or modify products, to improve plants or animals, or to develop useful microorganisms. Examples include: gene transfer to increase plant yield or disease resistance; cell and tissue culture to clonally propagate plants or animals; manipulation of microorganisms or cultured cells for the production of fermented food and beverages or the development of vaccines; production of antibodies for detection of animal and plant diseases; drug discovery and development. Students will gain laboratory and/or field experience in modern techniques of biotechnology, preparing them for biosciences or biomedical graduate/professional schools or careers in biotechnology.
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Examples of thesis titles:
- Investigations of Pactamycin Biosynthesis. Andrew Osborn. Mentor: Dr. Taifo Mahmud, Pharmacy.
- Cyclic electron flow: powering unique motility and alternative nitrogen uptake in Synechococcus WH8102 during nitrogen limited growth. Jake Dittrich. Mentor: Dr. Kimberley Halsey, Microbiology.
- Repression of DNA mismatch repair (MMR) in the plant Arabidopsis through dominant-negative MMR proteins. Ali Mohammed. Mentor: Dr. John Hays, Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.
- Characterization of a sporulation specific kinase in Clostridium perfringens. Brian Danielson. Mentor: Dr. Mahfuz Sarker, Veterinary Medicine.
- The crystal structure of San Miguel Sea Lion Virus Type 5 and the possible association of caliciviruses to spontaneous abortions in terrestrial animals. Jeff Lounsbury. Mentor: Dr. Alvin Smith, College of Veterinary Medicine.
- Dormancy phase of Nitrosomonas europea: The inducement and temporary suspension of dormancy phase and the effects on AMO and HAO.Debbie Hicks. Mentor: Dr. Dan Arp, Botany and Plant Pathology.
- DNA mismatch repair and O6-methyl-guanine toxicity: Testing the futile repair cycle hypothesis. T.J. Brodeur. Mentor: Dr. John Hays, Environmental and Medical Toxicology.
- Antibiotic resistance gene transfer in oysters as a result of fecal pollution. Becky Cooper. Mentor: Dr. Kate Field, Microbiology.
- Effects of gluten composition and molecular weight distribution on the noodle making potential of hard white wheat. Caryn Ong. Mentor: Dr. Andrew Ross, Food Science and Technology.