College of Arts & Sciences
- Science Division
- Kirkbride Hall, Room 321
- tel: 610-499-4002
Dr. Itzick Vatnick
- Chair of Biology Department
- Kirkbride Hall, Room 404
- tel: 610-499-4245
Student Research, Biology
Summer Research Programs
Students who wish to use the Widener facilities for self-driven research or to focus on a joint research project with faculty over the summer months may apply for free summer housing through the university’s Summer Research Program.
Undergraduate research is a fundamental component of the biology program at Widener. Opportunities exist for student-led research and assisting distinguished faculty members in their own work.
Some undergraduates have studied the development of fish muscles under different temperature environments, while others have looked into the complexities of plant-pollinator networks in urban ecosystems.
Featured Research Projects
Leena Kasa '19 & Amina Mason '19
Leena and Amina have been working with Dr. Cary Leung since their freshmen year on a variety of projects including the study of stress on cortisol levels in fish and the effects of stress on neural activity in zebra finches. Specifically, they are using antibody staining to label neurons that were "turned on" by a stressful event. They will present their research at the Widener Summer Research Symposium as well as at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, DC. Leena is planning to attend medical school after graduation, and Amina is planning to attend graduate school.
Nicole Gilette ’16
Nicole was awarded a Clinton Global Initiative grant to study the effects of the pesticide glyphosate found in Roundup on crayfish. Her senior thesis project with Dr. Itzick Vatnick involves analyzing the growth, metabolism, and levels of triglyceride, protein, and glucose on crayfish exposed to glyphosate. Nicole, a double major in biochemistry and biology, presented her results at the national American Society of Cell Biology Meeting in December 2014. This experience helped her be selected for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (HHMI EXROP) at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Shijo Benjamin ’17
Shijo has worked alongside Dr. Hemlata Mistry, assistant professor of biology, to examine how the genetic material of fruit flies with wounded nervous systems can provide insight into how humans respond to spinal cord injuries. Shijo, a biochemistry major, has been assisting in this research since he was a freshman. He chose to focus on Mistry’s project because of its potential implications for the medical field. With support from a recent fellowship grant, Mistry hopes to take Shijo with her to the Annual Drosophila Research Conference or “fly meeting” to present their work.