Student Research Proposals In Their Own Words (VBS 1001)
, Sarah Armstrong
, Marta Borgeson
, Nicole Andrews
, , Martin Wolf
1. VBS 1001 Instructor, 2.
and Biomedical Sciences, University
VBS 1001 is an introductory 4
credit course with no
prerequisites. This entry
level course is for anyone interested
in biotechnology from any college or unit across the university.
The objectives of this course include students achieving a
basic understanding of cell biology and biotechnology, and
students mastering hands on laboratory exercises using
modern molecular biotechnology techniques. A major course
focus is to foster creative and synthetic thinking. Student's
mastery of concepts is used to synthesize a creative project
analogous to an actual written scientific grant proposal.
Students work in teams under guidance to develop a research
plan using biotechnology to solve a current problem, answer
an important question, and/or create something new and
useful for society. Students generate their own topics and
iteratively develop their projects. The groups present their
project both in written and oral form to the class. Project
points are awarded by both instructors and students. Three
representative projects are shown and described by our
students (Poster Authors).
The projects were creative and the
level of sophistication for each project was quite good.
General students are able to create and own such projects.
An additional benefit to this exercise was the opportunity for
students to demonstrate skill sets such as creativity, critical
thinking, and communication, not normally evaluated by
Scoring Criteria for evaluation
Colombian Devil’s Breath: A Potential
Significance: Does the proposed project address an
important problem? Will it change the world as we know it?
Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods,
and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well
reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does
the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas?
Innovation: Is the project original and innovative? For
example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms;
address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to
progress in a field? Does the project develop or employ novel
concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies
for this area?
Presentation: How well was the project conveyed during the
oral presentation? Was there a good use of visuals to convey
information? Was each aspect of the proposal presented
Safety/Social Impact: Where safety concerns addressed?
Was effects of project on society and societies' influence of
Rough draft turned in on time (5%)
Participate in review process (5%)
Average grade of your contributions
by others in your group (10%)
Average student grade of written proposal
and presentation (15%)
Average instructor grade of written proposal
and presentation (65%)
100 points total
Adoptive Transfer of
T lymphocytes for the
Treatment of HER2
Advanced Lung Cancer Treatment using
is an alkaloid substance from the Nightshade family of
plants. Its anticholinergic properties are indicated for conditions such as
motion sickness and gastrointestinal discomfort, but at higher doses can
cause delirium, hallucinations, and severely impaired judgment. In
Colombia, unscrupulous individuals can easily extract scopolamine from
any number of local flowers of the genus
and the resulting
, can be slipped into an unsuspecting person’s
food or beverage. Within five minutes, the victim loses all willpower and is
subject to each and every whim of his attacker, yet he appears to be fully
conscious. Scopolamine is the perfect criminal weapon, because the
like state can facilitate the act of burglary, robbery, rape,
kidnapping, or even murder. In fact, approximately half of all poisonings in
are due to scopolamine, and these poisonings are so commonplace
that they hardly ever make the news.
the window of time between ingestion and onset of symptoms
is quite narrow, we propose to engineer a prophylactic medicine which will
protect the user from scopolamine poisoning, which is becoming an
epidemic in Colombia. The user would take the prophylactic before going
out to dance clubs or pubs, where criminals can easily spike food or drink
and understand the acetylcholine receptor binding site to visualize
the binding pocket for structure and binding properties.
Create a protein with a binding site that has a higher affinity for
scopolamine than acetylcholine to bind within the bloodstream before
reaching the blood brain barrier.
Create an administration route (oral, intravenous, intramuscular, inhalant,
etc.) that will use the protein as a prophylactic substance.
Conduct clinical trials in mice and human, focusing on efficacy, affinity,
prolonged bonding action, and the renal and hepatic elimination
Expected outcomes and impacts on society
project is expected to create
a prophylactic protein with a higher
affinity for scopolamine.
This protein will bind to the scopolamine and transport it out of the body
through renal or hepatic pathways with little to no damage to the tissues.
Lowered crime rate and increased public safety will be the greatest in
urban areas where scopolamine use is highest.
The likelihood of a woman having invasive breast cancer at some point in
her lifetime is 1 in
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer
induced death for women around the world. The purpose of our research
proposal is to help find a more efficient and improved method for treating
breast cancer. When one is diagnosed with breast cancer, options for
treatment include: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone
therapy, and targeted therapy. The majority of these come with expensive
price tags and harsh side effects. While many methods to attack breast
cancer exist, none have the efficiency to treat individuals with invasive and
metastatic breast cancer. Our plan is to genetically engineer autologous
CD8 T cells to confer specificity to HER2
tumor associated antigen. We
find these T
cells specifically intriguing, as its receptor is the sole structure
on the lymphocyte’s surface that determines the potential of its antigen
We hypothesize that adoptively transferred autologous HER2 specific
CD8+ T lymphocytes will play a significant role in the regression of
metastatic HER2 overexpressing breast cancer.
Specific Aim 1
: Cloning of mice HER2 specific CD8+ TCRs gene into
Specific Aim 2
: Development of autologous HER2 specific CD8+ T cells
Specific Aim 3
: Evaluation of T
cell function and avidity,
expansion of HER2 specific CD8+ T cells followed by adoptive transfer
of HER2 specific CD8+ T cells into the patient
Expected outcomes and impacts on society
therapy, we expect to see the regression of
metastatic HER2 overexpressing breast cancer. Our study would also
potentially initiate other studies with genetic modification on animal models
in order to research other types of cancer by targeting different antigens.
With our successful therapy, technology will be sparked to advance to keep
up with scientific progress. It will also decrease the financial burden on
those diagnosed with breast cancer and promote less harmful treatment
with milder effects
We propose to :
Utilize gene therapy through recombinant virus vectors, in order to transduce
inhibit tumor growth in cancerous cellular lung tissue.
Modify the adenovirus fiber knobs, and construct a retrovirus envelope
allowing for target specificity, integrate the Mere15 polypeptide sequence
into the novel adenovirus and retrovirus, and to test the recombinant vectors
Adenovirus and Retrovirus will be teamed together.
(Specific Aim 1) Modification of viruses.
specific targeted delivery, modification of the adenovirus fiber knob with
The retroviral vectors envelope will be modified with
antibodies, combined with CD55 and CD59 proteins to resist
degradation by the complement system.
antigen is highly
expressed on an assortment of adenocarcinomas such as breast, ovary,
colon and lung, whereas
antigen expression is limited in normal
(Specific Aim 2) Integration of the Mere15 polypeptide sequence into an
Adenovirus and Retrovirus.
The Mere15 gene is found in the Asiatic hard
been found to inhibit adenocarcinoma in A549 cell lines. The
Mere15 polypeptide sequence fragment will be integrated into the
adenovirus at the multiple fragment cloning
the retrovirus vector, the
Mere15 polypeptide sequence will be integrated on the opposing side of the
internal ribosome entry
(Specific Aim 3) Test recombinant vectors.
The efficacy of the
recombinant vectors containing an
modified fiber rod and Mere15
sequence for adenovirus and
combined with CD55, CD59, and
Mere15 sequence, will be tested
using the A549
Expected outcomes and impacts on society
with all treatments there are possible side effects. Foreseeable side
effects are, the possibility of rejection of this teamed viral vector once
introduced, and possible allergic reactions.
Establishment of a treatment plan allows adenoviral and retroviral vectors to
transduce adenocarcinomas will allow for further research in targeting other
The initialization of this novel teamed viral vector would
allow for a new pathway in treating, curing and preventing many
This would be a phenomenal impact on society and
steps towards eradicating cancer.