- Linfield College

Student Research in Biology

Linfield College Biology research student digging up a clam at the Oregon CoastLinfield Biology faculty pursue their research with student collaborators. There is ample funding for these projects, from internal student-faculty collaborative research grants awarded yearly and external funding sources. Students are vital to Biology research programs; many students have been authors on faculty publications and have attended and presented at professional society meetings with their research mentors (see individual faculty pages for publication lists).

Students can gain research experience within the Biology Department by following three main avenues:

  • Performing an independent research project with a faculty member during the semester by taking BIOL 220: Research Methods (1 credit)
  • Performing an advanced research project during the semester with a faculty member, culminating in a formal written report, by taking for BIOL 490: Independent Research (2 – 5 credits)
  • Working as a summer research assistant for a faculty member (see below)

If you are a student interested in gaining research experience (and we hope you are!), please contact individual faculty members and we will be happy to discuss the best option for you – we are always looking for engaged students to join our labs.

Student Research News

Three Linfield students won awards for their research presentations at the 2016 M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust College Science Research Conference. Tyler Griffin '17 and Clara Prentiss '19 won a Murdock Poster Prize in Ecology/Evolution/Biodiversity for presenting research they conducted with Dr. Jeremy Weisz. Their poster was entitled "A Functional Ecological Comparison of Three Sponge Species from the Lower Florida Keys." Megan Schwehr '16 won the John Van Zytveld Oral Presentation Award In The Life Sciences for presenting research she conducted with Dr. Cecilia Toro. Her talk was entilted "Exploring GABA Receptor Circuitry in the Zebrafish Lateral LIne."

Summer Research

Each summer, faculty hire a number of students to work in their lab as full-time research assistants. The Biology students are joined by dozens of students campus-wide who conduct research in other fields including Chemistry, Physics, Math and Psychology.

Students are well-compensated with a generous stipend and free on-campus housing. Summer students participate in a weekly Summer Science Symposium in which they present their research projects to their peers and science faculty. Summer students also share their research with the entire Linfield community at the annual Linfield College Student Symposium.

Many students give research talks and present research posters at the annual M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Undergraduate Student Research Conference, the Oregon Academy of Science Annual Meeting, and specialized national meetings in their fields such as the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Meeting, the Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, and the Evolution Conference.

Examples of Student Summer Research Projects:

  • Identifying a novel gene required for microRNA-mediated gene silencing (faculty mentor: Catherine Reinke)
  • Determining the role of Regena/NOT2 in gene silencing in Drosophila melanogaster (faculty mentor: Catherine Reinke)
  • Non-target effects of endangered species management strategies (faculty mentor: Chadwick Tillberg)
  • Characterizing pathways of intracellular persistence in phototroph:sponge symbioses. (faculty mentor: Jeremy Weisz)
  • Enhancing razor clam management using molecular probes for pathogen detection (faculty mentor: Jeremy Weisz)
  • Understanding impacts of viticultural practices on wine grape microbiomes (faculty mentor: Jeremy Weisz)
  • Using in situ hybridization to identify neurotransmitter receptors in the zebrafish lateral line (faculty mentor: Cecilia Toro)
  • Determining vesicular neurotransmitter transporter protein expression in the zebrafish lateral line using whole-mount immunohistochemistry (faculty mentor: Cecilia Toro)
  • Chloroplast genome degeneration among the parasitic species of Orobanchaeae  (faculty mentor: John Syring)
  • Fungal and microbial succession across a coarse woody debris chronosequence (faculty mentor: John Syring)
  • Evaluating rangewide genetic diversity of whitebark pine (faculty mentor: John Syring)

Examples of Student Presentations at National Scientific Meetings:

  • How changes in plant community structure affect terrestrial invertebrate food webs. Entomological Society of America – Pacific Branch Meeting, Coeur d’Alene, ID (faculty mentor: Chadwick Tillberg)
  • Foraging and nesting ecology of the giant queenless ant Dinoponera australis (Hymenoptera:Formicidae). Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, IN (faculty mentor: Chadwick Tillberg)
  • Exploring the requirement for the CCR4-NOT deadenylase complex subunit Regena/NOT2 in microRNA-mediated gene silencing. Annual Meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (faculty mentor: Catherine Reinke)
  • Developing genetic resources in whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis). International Union of Forest Research Organizations Conference, Ft. Collins, CO (faculty mentor: John Syring)
  • Development of microsatellite markers for the threatened whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis). Evolution Conference, Snowbird, UT (faculty mentor: John Syring)