Research projects are an integral component of many of the core and elective courses in biology. Students who qualify are also provided the opportunity to conduct more in-depth, independent research projects with individual faculty.
Our students participate in the annual Concord University Undergraduate Research Day in the spring semester and the Pre-Professional / Science Research Day in late November every year. Students construct professional posters or give short oral presentations at these events. Some students get the opportunity to accompany faculty to professional conferences off campus.
Faculty Research Interests
Dr. David Chambers
My interests lie in the cell’s cytoskeleton, specifically actin. Actin forms the cortical structure of the cell, the fibrous matrix that supports and the membrane and gives shape to the cell. Ezrin, moesin and radixin (ERMs) are actin binding proteins that link the actin cytoskeleton to membrane proteins directly or through adapter proteins. When activated, Ezrin causes the formation of the actin rich membrane surface structures: microvilli. My current projects involve the examination of ERMs in creatures that contain only one homologue rather than all three ERMs. In these organisms we can better dissect the function of the ERMs without the problem of redundancy. I am also open to working with students on projects related to other topics in cell biology.
Dr. Thomas Ford
My students and I are examining the impacts of coal mining and urbanization on microbial communities in streams. Bacteria and fungi are important components of stream communities because they are the first to break down leaves and other organic matter falling into the stream, releasing organic compounds that are consumed by other stream organisms, including aquatic insects and fish. Coal mining introduces heavy metals and alters the pH of streams which may negatively impact the microbial community in streams and, therefore, may impair the break down organic matter. Similarly, urbanization can alter the chemistry of streams because of the introduction of excess nitrogen and phosphorus. In addition, urbanized watershed can have elevated levels of fecal coliforms, bacteria from mammalian digestive tracts. These impairments can significantly alter microbial communities in streams. Students working with me use a combination of field and molecular methods to measure the impact of these activities on microbial communities in southern WV. I am also open to working with students on projects related to other topics in ecology and avian biology.
Click here for more information on Dr. Ford's research.