Female biotech students in research lab
The Viral Discovery and Genomics Program

All Biotechnology students are strongly encouraged to participate in a sustained undergraduate research project on or off campus.  To help support this, we offer a two-semester discovery-based laboratory course, ISAT/BIO 203 and 204: Viral Discovery and Genomics, for first-year students.  In these courses, students work to find, name, and characterize new viruses.  Viruses are propagated from student soil samples and the viral genomes are sequenced, assembled, and analyzed.  New findings are shared with undergraduate researchers in the network of schools taking part in this nationwide project. 

Students who participate in this course present their work at regional and national conferences, co-author peer-reviewed scientific articles, and are launched into a wide variety of other research projects at JMU and beyond.  

Mentored Independent Research

Biotechnology students may engage in mentored independent research with any Biotechnology-affiliated faculty member for credit.  Up to six credits may be applied to the upper-level elective credit requirement, making independent research--including Honors Capstone Projects--a tenable goal.

Selected Examples of Biotechnology Student Research Projects
  • "Using Difference Infrared Spectroscopy to Study the Effects of Salt and pH on Nucleotide Binding to Phosphoglycerate Kinase"  --Jamie Campbell under the guidance of Dr. Gina MacDonald (2008)

  • "Characterization of Antimicrobial Activity for the Human Tear Protein Lacritin" --Erin Coleman under the guidance of Dr. Robert McKown (2009)

  • "The Role of Dengue Virus Envelope Protein in Dengue Induced Arthritis" --Michael Fedkenheuer under the guidance of Dr. Amanda Biesecker (2010)

  • "An Approach to Bordetella avium as a Universal Poultry Live Vaccine Platform for the Expression of Foreign Antigens" --Carly Starke under the guidance of Dr. Louise Temple (2014)

  • "Structural Elucidation of AggR-activated Regulator, Aar, in Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli"--Andrew Heindel under the guidance of Dr. Nathan Wright (2015)

  • "Characterization of Cell-type Specifics Responses in C. elegans Experiencing Misfolded Protein Stress: How Do Some Cells Save Themselves While Others Die?" --Courtney Matson under the guidance of Dr. Timothy Bloss (2015)

  • "Repeaterator: A Tool for Visualizing DNA Repeat Motifs in Actinobacteriaphage Gemones"-- Grant Rybnicky under the guidance of Dr. Steven Cresawn (2017)

  • "Survey of microbial urea degrader diversity in two freshwater ecosystems: Lake Shenandoah and the Shenandoah River"-- Naomi Gilbert under the guidance of Dr. Morgan Steffan (2017)

  • "Antibacterial Properties of Novel Amphiphiles: Exploring Structure-Activity Relationships"--Reafa Hossain under the guidance of Dr. Kyle Seifert (2018)

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