Biosciences Undergraduate Research

  • One of the great strengths of an undergraduate degree at MSUM in the Biosciences Department is the opportunity to conduct faculty-mentored research. Many faculty maintain active research that involve undergraduate collaborators. With faculty permission, you can get involved in research as early as your freshman year.

    Why get involved in research?

    • Transition from learning about science to learning about being a scientist
    • Formulate questions, collect and analzye data, and draw conclusions
    • Present the results of your research to other scientists
    • Strengthen your critical thinking and time-management skills
    • Gain experience working as a member of a group
    • Learn a variety of laboratory skills
    • Learn how to teach others what you've learned
    • Gain confidence in your academic and career goals
    • Get to know your professors (and they will get to know you!)
        

    What areas of research are available at MSUM?

    • Sara Anderson: Vertebrate, bacterial and viral diversity in the environment; genomics and bioinformatics
    • Ellen Brisch: Biological effects of estrogenic compounds in the Red River
    • Chris Chastain: Molecular physiology of photosynthesis in corn
    • "Mazz" Marry: Physiological traits of plants grown in aquaponic systems
    • Chris Merkord: Geospatial ecology, avian ecology, epidemiology of zoonotic diseases
    • Sumali Pandey: Microbial interactions with humans, animals and plants; immune response to environmental toxins, epigenetics
    • Adam Stocker: Developmental neurobiology using genetically engineered mice
    • Donna Bruns Stockrahm: Population ecology of small mammals, turtles, Canada geese; game camera studies
    • Alison Wallace: Science teaching methods, plant ecology, sustainability
    • “Bee” Wisenden: Teaching methods in human anatomy, biological effects of estrogenic compounds in the Red River
    • Brian Wisenden: Behavioral ecology of fish and other aquatic organisms
        

    How do you get involved?

    Set up an appointment to talk with a faculty member about their research. There is no requirement that you have previous research experience to become involved. It is also not required that you have specific plans such as graduate school or medical school, etc. Some questions you might want to ask a potential faculty research mentor:

    • What projects are available in their lab for you to join?
    • What is the time commitment required?
    • Will you be working with other students and if so, how many?
    • What lab techniques/skills will you be learning?
    • Are the available projects long term (i.e. more than one semester) or short term?
    • What other expectations do they have? If you decide to get involved in a research project, then your faculty mentor will tell you about other details such as registration and meeting times.