Student Research & Activities

Biology Students at Wartburg College have many opportunities to conduct research. Students can work with individual faculty on projects related to a faculty member’s research interests. Students can work a few hours a week with a professor to “learn the ropes,” even in the first year! Upper class students can receive academic course credit through BI 450, Independent Study or students can apply for an Undergraduate Research Fellowship wherein they can work with a faculty member during the summer or academic year.

An integral part of the Biology major is the opportunity for students to propose and carry out a research project in their junior or senior year in BI 455-456. During the first term, students research the topic, write a research proposal and determine equipment needs and a budget for the project. During the second term, they conduct the research, prepare a manuscript, and present a poster of their research on campus at Wartburg’s RICE Day. Students may also present their data at off-campus venues.

Beta Beta Beta Honor Society
Beta Beta Beta Biology Society admits students with a B average in at least three biology courses. Those with an interest in biology can become associate members. The honor society organizes community service projects, attends professional presentations, and sponsors social events.

Off-Campus Research 

In recent years, biology majors have had the opportunity to conduct research at University of California at Berkley, University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Minnesota Hormel Institute, University of Missouri, the Mayo Clinic, the Minnesota Zoo, and several state natural resources departments to name a few.

State & National Research Projects

Publications

J. A. Bumpus, M. Trax, A. Reisdorph, C. Boyd, D.Gilbert, S. Techau* and Roy M. Ventullo. 2007.  An in silico analysis of cytochrome c from Phanerochaete chrysosporium: its amino acid sequence and characterization of gene structural elements. In Silico Biology 8, 0001.

Posters presented at state, national and international conferences

Vaidehi Agrawal, Ran Chen, Sunakshi Chowdhary, Dalbir Kour, and J. Keith McClung. Subcellular Distribution of Prohibitin in MCF7 Cells Treated with Tamoxifen. American Society for Cell Biology, San Francisco, CA, December 12-17, 2009.

Ellen M. Bell, Randy C. Fowler, Carol Tracht-Kader, Roy M. Ventullo. “The frequency and characterization of antibiotic resistant staphylococci and MRSA in healthy dogs and cats”  Antimicrobial Resistance in Zoonotic Bacteria and Foodborne Pathogens, June 15-18, 2008, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Kelsea Cannon, Kala Darby, and Melissa Fox and Stephanie Toering (advisor). “The effects of curcumin on occurrence of Amyloid-Beta-induced paralysis in transgenic C. elegans”. McElroy Research Symposium, May 4th, 2007 Waverly, Iowa.

Rachel Shellabarger and David MCullough. “Status of Threatened Microtene Rodents in Northeast Iowa: Correlations Between Habitat Quality and Availability. Iowa Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting, 27-29 April, 2007 Pella, Iowa.

Laura Durant, John Melville, Eric Cassmann, Cynthia Bane, Shawn Ellerbroek, Roy M. Ventullo. Behavioral diagnostic methods for the detection of bladder cell carcinoma. the 43rD Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society, AUG 12-16th, 2006 Snowbird, Utah.

John M. Melville, Derrin. L. Boerschel. “Inexpensive software solutions for behavioral analysis: a set of simple methods for conducting Morris water maze experiments at a small undergraduate”. Presentation at the 36th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, OCT 14-18th, 2006, Atlanta, GA.

John. M. Melville, Hannah Goldhammer, Annie Reiher, Melinda Yoder. A common antioxidant (vitamin C) inhibits neomycin-induced sensory hair cell death in the Zebra fish (Danio rerio). Presentation at the 36th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, OCT 14-18th, 2006, Atlanta, GA.

Laura Durant, Eric Cassmann, Drs. Cynthia Bane, Shawn Ellerbroek, and Johnathan Melville.

“The sensitivities of biochemical and behavioral diagnostic methods for the detection of bladder cell carcinoma.” Regional Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago , IL . March 2006 and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, UNC-Asheville , NC . April 2006.

Stephanie Egts (biochemistry) and Todd Stanhope (biology) and Dr. J. Keith McClung.|

“Effects of Prohibitin on Cancer Growth” McElroy Symposium, Waverly, IA. May 2006

Hannah Goldammer , Annie Reiher, Melinda Yoder and Dr. Johnathan Melville.

“ Inhibition of Neomycin-Induced Sensory Hair Cell Death by an Antioxidant in Zebra fish”

Regional Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago , IL . March 2006

Leah Muhle, Lacey Ebert, and Jacque Novak and Dr. StephanieToering

“The Role of Dopamine in Female Sex Pheromone Biosynthesis in Drosophila melanogaster 

Grinnell College Howard Hughes Medical Institute Symposium, Grinnell , Iowa , April 15, 2006

Anderson, Beth, Michael Powell and Dr. J. Keith McClung. Identification of proteins that bind to prohibitin’s 3’UTR. The R.J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium administered by the Iowa College Foundation. May 2005.

Calhoun, Ann and David McCullough. Utilization of golf courses and other urban green spaces as amphibian refugia. National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, Lexington, Va., and at the Iowa Academy of Sciences, Spring 2005.

Fuller, Mary, Ryan Goetz, Shannon McDonnell and J. Keith McClung. The effects of a high protein diet on kidney function in Male Sprague-Dawley rats. The R.J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium administered by the Iowa College Foundation. May 2005.

Kidwell, Matt, Jared Kray, Joel Reynolds and Ed Westen. The changes in resting ghrelin levels as caused by restricted carbohydrate diet. The R.J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium administered by the Iowa College Foundation. May 2005.

Mullen, Kelly, Jennifer Olthoff, and Ed Westen. The effects of exercising at high altitudes as compared to low altitudes on muscle performance. The R.J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium administered by the Iowa College Foundation. May 2005.

Calhoun, A., D.A. McCullough. 2005. Utilization of golf courses and other urban green spaces as amphibian refugia. Proceedings of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).

Buzza, Colin, Jason Rasmussen, Theresa Edson and Ed Westen. Metabolic and cardiovascular effects of a low-carbohydrate diet. Experimental Biology/International Union of Physiology Meeting, San Diego, Spring, 2005.

Fox, Matt, Erin Wright, Roy M. Ventullo and John Bumpus. DECOLORIZATION of Erioglaucine and other triphenylmethane dyes by PHANEROCHAETE CHRYSOSPORIUM. National Council on Undergraduate Research, Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA., April 21-23, 2005.

Yang, Wei, Chris Knudson, and Roy M. Ventullo. Developing, Using and Evaluating On-line Materials in Microbiology, Society for General Microbiology Symposium on e-Learning, Dublin, Ireland, Fall 2004.

Brumm, Ryan; Hemsath, Craig. Response of Bailey’s Eastern Woodrat (Neotoma floridana bailey) to a Controlled Fire Management Regime. Iowa Academy of Science Annual Conference. April 23, 2004. Cedar Falls, Iowa. (McCullough)

Powless, E.R. and R.M. Ventullo. Effect of media composition on decolorization and peroxidase activity of Phanerochaete chrysosporium. The R.J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium administered by the Iowa College Foundation. May 2004.

Seabul, R. and R.M. Ventullo. Occurrence of antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus in cats and dogs in Northeast Iowa. National Council on Undergraduate Research, UIPUI, Indianapolis, IN. April 15-17, 2004.

Powless, E.R. and R.M. Ventullo. Effect of media composition on decolorization and peroxidase activity of Phanerochaete chrysosporium. National Council on Undergraduate Research, UIPUI, Indianapolis, IN. April 15-17, 2004.

Manson, M., Campbell, T., Cooper. C., and Liscum, E. 2002. Turing Arabidopsis into letuce…bul., presented at a poster session at U. of Missouri Aug. 1st, Columbia MO and at NCUR on Friday, March 14, 2003 Salt Lake City, UT.

The effect of microinjection of the mRNA transcript Prohibitin into a breast cancer cell line. Amy Taylor, Christopher Hilland J. Keith McClung. National Conference of the Council on Undergraduate Research Annual Meeting, June, 2002.

The effects of 1, 25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 on chemotherapy-induced Alopecia in a rat pup model. Abby Stockham, Linette Tibben and Roy M. Ventullo. The R. J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium, May, 2002.

The effect of changing land use along a groundwater stream continuum on periphyton communities. Matt Haberkorn and Steve Main. Iowa Academy of Science Annual Meeting, April, 2002.

The effect of zinc acetate on colonization of Streptococcus sanguis on hydroxyapatite crystals using a microscale method. Brandon M. Patten and Roy M. Ventullo. The R. J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium, 2001.

Ecology of northeastern Iowa springs creeks. Matt Haberkorn and Steve Main. The R. J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium, May, 2001.

Chromium supplementation of HsdHlr: Zucker-fa and HsdHlr: Zucker-lean Rats: Effect on blood glucose and total blood cholesterol. Matthew C. Anderson, Kimberly K. Sweet and Roy M. Ventullo. The R. J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium, May, 2000.

Comparisons of prairie productivity over a summer growing season. Nancy Weiss, Natalie West and Steve Main. Iowa Academy of Science Annual Meeting, April, 2001.

The effects of UV-B radiation on cytoplasmic streaming in Nitella cells. Jess Daley and Roy M. Ventullo. The R.J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium, May, 1999.

Water quality of different aged farm ponds. Jason Puffett and Roy M. Ventullo. The R.J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium, May, 1998.

Biodegradation of vegetable-based oil in soil. Carrie Lyle, Jamie Bakkum, and Roy M. Ventullo. SAE Off-highway & Powerplant Congress and Exposition, May, 1996.

On-Campus Research Poster Sessions

The Effects of Exercise on Balance in the Elderly
By Bryndee Boheman, Amanda Kuiken and Amanda Paige
            Advisors:  Dr. Samantha C. Larimer and Dr. Cynthia Bane

The Effects of Testosterone on Spatial Learning and Memory in a Water Maze
By Alise Duffy, Kahri Heinemann, Abby Smith and Dan Sveom
            Advisor:  Dr. Samantha C. Larimer

Examining the Effects of Atrazine of Pimephales promelas
By Daina Deery, Joy Hanson, Kristin MacDonald and Andrew Ott
            Advisors:  Dr. Samantha C. Larimer and Dr. Shawn Ellerbroek

Male Golden Hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) Preference Between Ovariectomized and Ovary-intact Female Golden Hamsters
By Hilary Gerten, Jacob Hall, John Koehler and Ann Makar
            Advisor:  Dr. Samantha C. Larimer

The Effects of Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant Supplementation on Murine Cognition
By Jenny Kordick, Dana Reinhardt and Justin Schroeder
            Advisor:  Dr. Samantha C. Larimer

The Effect of Meaning Threats on Implicit Learning and Stress as a Potential Explanation
By Peter Ostiguy and Alex Stone
            Advisors:  Dr. Mark McDermott and Dr. Samantha C. Larimer

Comparison of Animal Usage Between a Remnant Prairie and Restored Prairie in Bremer County, Iowa
By Dustin Jaeger and Troy Potter
            Advisor:  Dr. Johanna Foster

Mathematical Modeling of the Isle Royale Wolf and Moose Populations Using Vensim® Simulations
By Morgan Jacks
            Advisor:  Dr. Johanna Foster

Simulation of Effect of an Increased Temperature on a Bottom-up Trophic Cascade in a Freshwater Ecosystem
By Bridget Whately
            Advisor:  Dr. Johanna Foster

Olfactory Memory in the Laboratory House Mouse (Mus musculus)
By Mayumi Funai, Stacy McCulley, Jen Noe and Shannon Rieck
            Advisor:  Dr. Kimran Buckholz

Daily Aspartame Consumption Shows No Effect on Memory Tasks in Lab Mice (Mus musculus)
By Eric Dreibelbeis, Chelsey Larson and Staci Sieren
            Advisor:  Dr. Kimran Buckholz

Relatively Long Term Daily Consumption of Aspartame Shows No Effect on Spatial Memory and Learning Tasks and Gross Anatomy in Mice (Mus musculus)
By Andrew Carlson, Katherine Jasper and Ben Merritt
            Advisor:  Dr. Kimran Buckholz

Genetic Variation Among Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Populations as a Result of Human Disturbances 
By Kerry Haage, Joey Sterner and Kyle Jorgensen
            Advisor:  Dr. David McCullough

Biodiversity of Borrow Pits in Northeast Iowa
By Matt Haager, Danny Rose and Travis Vlantes
            Advisor:  Dr. David McCullough

The Effect of Caffeine on Cardiovascular Development in Danio rerio
By Todd Becker, Adela Cope, Nick Hitchcock and Naiya Panchal
            Advisor:  Dr. Stephanie Toering Peters

Detection and Survivability of Escherichia coli in Biofilms
By Andrew Torkelson
            Advisor:  Dr. Roy M. Ventullo

Detection and Classification of Antibiotic-Resistant Staphylococci in Healthy Cats and Dogs
By Anna Fagre, Jane Ohde and Cara Rada
            Advisor:  Dr. Roy M. Ventullo

Localization of Cc in Drosophila melanogaster Throughout Development
By Hannah Baker, Anna Kraayenbrink and Jennifer Kuiken 
            Advisor:  Dr. Stephanie Toering Peters

Determining Prohibitin’s Role in Mitochondrial Structure Using Interference RNA
By Stephanie Thrall and Jenna Zenk
            Advisor:  Dr. J. Keith McClung

The Effects of RNA Interference on Prohibitin in MCF-7 Cells
By Emily Dasen, Amanda Riddle and Katrina Bernhard
            Advisor:  Dr. J. Keith McClung

The Effects of Protein Supplementation on Post-exercise Proteinuria Levels in Female Athletes: A Pilot Study
By Dani Schroeder and Amanda Higgins
            Advisor:  Dr. Ed Westen

The Effects of Protein Supplementation on Protein Synthesis and Urinalysis
By Tony Brown, Drew Corpstein and Bill Schmitt
            Dr. Ed Westen

The Ability of Syrian Golden Hamsters to Learn Gender Specific Odors
By Stephanie King, Melanie Rod and Katrina Turnis
            Advisor:  Dr. Samantha C. Larimer

The Effect of Testosterone on Spatial Memory and Hippocampal Neurogenesis
By Katie Friedline, Nate Palmolea and Trevor Schwartz 
            Advisor:  Dr. Samantha C. Larimer

The Influence of a Weight Training Program on Motor Unit Activation in the Biceps Brachii Muscles Comparing Dominant and Non-dominant Upper Extremities
By Angela Hartwig, Lindsay Schneider and Emily Stetzel
            Advisors:  Dr. Ed Westen and Dr. Samantha C. Larimer

Isolation of a Pheromone Producing Gland in Female Drosophila melanogaster            
By Angela Hanson and Monica Popowski
         Advisor:  Dr. Stephanie Toering Peters

Investigation of Volatile Pheromone Droplet from Female Drosophila melanogaster  
By Kristyn Moravetz, Robert Struthers and Brittany Weisinger
         Advisor:  Dr. Stephanie Toering Peters

Effect of Male Virginity on Female Mate Choice in Drosophila melanogaster
By Nsia Kileo and Nwabunie Nwana
         Advisor:  Dr. Stephanie Toering Peters

Characterization of l(2)37Cc in Drosophila melanogaster, Homologue of the Mammalian Prohibitin Gene  
By Stephanie Harbaugh, Marcus Hemesath and Hallie Lehman
            Advisor:  Dr. Stephanie Toering Peters

Investigation of Histological Effects of 17-α Ethinylestradiol in Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas)
By Zachary Barnes, Tony Flatness and Heather Patterson
            Advisor:  Dr. Johanna Foster

Destruction of Cancer Cells Using Gold Nanoparticles and Laser Treatments
By Elliott Cohen, Megan Baber and Adam Ries
            Advisor:  Dr. J. Keith McClung

Subcellular Distribution of Prohibitin in MCF-7 Cells Treated With Tamoxifen 
By Vaidehi Agrawal, Ran Chen, Sunakshi Chowdhary and Dalbir Kour
            Advisor:  Dr. J. Keith McClung

Revealing Prohibitin’s Role in C. 
By Tess Magner, Max Kuenstling and Shaida Hossein
            Advisor:  Dr. J. Keith McClung

Rho GDP Disassociation Inhibitor(RhoGDI) as a Chemotherapeutic Resistance Agent in Prostate Cancer
By Ted Baylor and Jared Fairbanks
            Advisor:  Dr. J. Keith McClung

The Effects of Aspartame on Food Intake and Behavior in Mice 
By Chelsea Holtz, Michael Johnson and Shane Nissen
            Advisor:  Dr. Kimran Buckholz

Efficacy of Aquatic Macroinvertebrates as Bioindicators
By Cassie Conger and Jesse Ourada
            Advisor:  Dr. David McCullough

Testing a Top-down Predator Prey Model: Response of Small Rodents to the Presence of Massasauga Rattlesnakes
By Aaron Wernimont, Ryan DeSanti and Ryan Reynolds
            Advisor:  Dr. David McCullough

Direct Instruction vs. Inquiry-based Instruction in a Science Classroom 
By Allison Schwiebert, Kayla Goodchild and Kaitlin Doyle
            Advisor:  Dr. David McCullough