Information for Students Interested in Doing Research in the Laboratory of Drs. Hill and Jackson-Hayes

If you haven't done so already, you should first click here to get a brief background on this research project, to better understand what the following is about.

What Students Can Expect To Be Doing

The goal of this research project is to better understand the processes by which the fungal cell wall is constructed and maintained.  The work employs a wide range of molecular, cellular, and microbiological research techniques, and students can expect to be centrally involved in all aspects of the work.

At the present stage of the research, most students are engaged in engineering DNA constructs, which are then used to alter expression of specific genes in the fungus Aspergillus nidulans (via gene deletion or promoter replacement) or to produce "tagged" proteins, which can be localized within the fungal cells using fluorescence microscopy.   Other students are engaged primarily in carrying out the cultural and microscopic observations needed in evaluating the effectiveness of these molecular manipulations and the meaning of results within the context of the project goals.  Students joining the project without prior lab experience normally begin by assisting a more experienced student in his or her own work, before receiving projects of their own.

Students working on this project can expect to gain skills in basic molecular techniques including gene cloning, PCR, restriction digestions, DNA isolation, cell transformation, electrophoresis, etc.   In addition, all students acquire skills in microbial culture and aseptic technique.  Since many useful experimental strains must be produced by genetic breeding, students engaged in those aspects of the work also gain experience in Mendelian methods of genetic maipulation and analyses (performance of sexual crosses, phenotype characterization, etc.), and selected students gain experience in the use of fluorescence microscopy to evaluate experimental outcomes.   Finally, as students achieve more independence and experience, they are entrusted with roles in the actual design of their experiments, including use of on-line resources to design cloning and PCR strategies, design of breeding strategies for producing experimental strains, etc.

Localizing GFP-tagged Proteins in Cells

Preparing Polymerase Chain Reaction

Transforming Fungal Cells

Isolating plasmid DNA

Testing Mutant Phenotypes

Clicking here will take you to the names, photos, and personal information of all the students who have worked on the Aspergillus project since its beginning.

Public Presentation

Student research is expected to result in public presentation.   In addition to presenting work at Rhodes' annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium (URCAS), students working in this laboratory have also presented their results at regional professional meetings (e.g., SERYM - the Southeastern Regional Yeast Meetings), as well as at research conferences of national professional societies such as the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), or the Mycological Society of America.

Uchenna, Mac, Spencer, Lauren, Ash,
Liz, Brianna, Lynsey, & Jo
2018 ASBMB Meeting
(San Diego, CA)

Uchenna Ugwu
2018 ASBMB Meeting
(San Diego, CA)

Mac Williamson, Lauren Rowland, Spencer Beckman
2018 ASBMB Meeting
(San Diego, CA)

Caylon Pettis and Mac Williamson
URCAS 2017

Spencer Beckman, Lauren Rowland, and Peter Daniels
URCAS 2017

Kristen Wendt
First Place Presentation
2014 Tenn. Acad. Sciences Meeting

Kristen Wendt
2012 ASBMB Meeting
(San Diego, CA)

Xiao Wang
2012 ASBMB Meeting
(San Diego, CA)

Tyra Hayes
2010 ABRCMS Meeting
(Charlotte, NC)

Jordan Henley (2nd from left)
Second Place Division Award
2011 Emerging Researchers National Conference
(Washington, DC)

Jackie Ward
2010 SERYM Conference
(Little Rock, AR)

Chassidy Groover, Erinn Ogburn, and Laura Johnson
2010 ASBMB Meeting
(Anaheim, CA)

Erinn Ogburn & John Musgrove
Honorable Mention Undergraduate Poster
2009 ASBMB Meeting
(New Orleans, LA)

John Musgrove, Laura Johnson, Chassidy Groover,
Erinn Ogburn, and Ke Shang
2009 ASBMB Meeting
(New Orleans, LA)

Barrie Gordon
2008 ASBMB Meeting
(San Diego, CA)

Sarah Mercer
2006 SERYM Conference
(Hattiesburg, MS))

Valencia Smith
2006 SERYM Conference
(Hattiesburg, MS)

Annette, Lauren, Caroline, and Loretta
2005 SERYM Conference
(Atlanta, Georgia)

Caroline Sartain
2005 Internat. Union of Microbiol. Sci.
(San Francisco, CA)

Lauren Fay
(Outstanding Undergrad. Presentation)
2004 SERYM Conference
(Memphis, TN)

Stanley Vance
2004 Mycological Society of America
(Asheville, NC)

Rhodes Contingent
(Including Members of Mary Miller's Lab)
2003 SERYM Conference
(Birmingham, AL)

In addition, several students have been co-authors of refereed publications
(See lists of publications on the Lab Homepage )

Application To Work In This Lab

Students wishing to apply for a research position in this laboratory should speak with either Dr. Hill or Dr. Jackson-Hayes.

Although previous coursework in Genetics or Molecular Biology will be of advantage to students beginning work on this project, we are also prepared to accept highly motivated students having other backgrounds.  The basic experimental methods of this work can be learned on the job if you bring with you a high level of curiosity, good laboratory habits, and a very responsible attitude towards your work.

In selecting students for research positions, those students who have a sincere interest in pursuing a career in biological research will be considered most highly.  Preference will also be given to those students who expect to be able to continue their work beyond the initial involvement.

Return to Lab Homepage

Link to Hill Homepage

Link to Jackson-Hayes Homepage