Published January 19, 2012
UB’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (CURCA) has awarded funding to six students conducting research in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
Karen DeWispelaere, a senior biochemistry major who works with Amy Jacobs, PhD, is studying the intracellular trafficking of the HIV envelope protein complex using a fluorescent dye called FlAsH. The envelope protein complex facilitates viral entry and propagation, but its active form has proven difficult to characterize.
With FlAsH, DeWispelaere has successfully labeled the HIV envelope without affecting its activity. She has already initiated a collaboration based on this discovery with Yale University’s Walther H. Mothes, PhD.
CURCA funds will help her study the envelope complex’s movement and conformational changes in live cells to gain further insight into HIV’s infection and production processes.
Five students working with Piero Bianco, PhD, have been awarded CURCA funding to study reactions in human and bacterial DNA.
Bianco has been mentoring and training each of these students in his lab since last summer.
CURCA offers $500 awards to pay for supplies, conference fees or other related needs for undergraduate research and creative activities.
The center accepts applications for awards on a rolling basis throughout the year. For consideration, the student’s project must be advertised on the CURCA website. Research mentors working with undergraduates are encouraged to submit research opportunity postings online.