Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease
Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation
Evolution in Extreme Environments
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
In 2015, LAQE leadership led an effort to enroll UWA in the HHMI Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) program. This program involves the search for viruses that kill actinobacteria, which includes human pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium ulcerans. Viruses discovered through the SEA-PHAGES course may offer an alternative therapy for disease caused by drug-resistant bacteria, also known as "superbugs." During their first year on campus, SEA-PHAGES students develop skills including experimental design, critical thinking, wet and dry lab protocols, and scientific communication. This program has improved the preparation of UWA undergraduates for advanced biological research in the LAQE and beyond. Click on the link above for more information about the SEA-PHAGES program.
In 2019, LAQE leadership joined the HudsonAlpha CODE project as program facilitators. The CODE program is a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) exclusively available to college students of Alabama. Through CODE, students are able to visualize and quantify variation among protein structures, and infer downstream functional consequences of variants. Current CODE projects in the LAQE include; 1) resolving the structure of Toll-like receptor heterodimers to understand mycobacterial ligand specificity, 2) reconstructing enzyme complexes of the electron transport chain to understand heritable determinants of metabolism, and 3) visualizing the three-dimensional structure of globin tetramers to understand the Root effect in freshwater fishes.
Genomics Education Partnership
In 2020, LAQE leadership joined the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP), led by faculty at the University of Alabama and Washington University, St. Louis. GEP is a nationwide CURE focused on undergraduate bioinformatic training, which includes genome assembly, annotation, and pathway analysis. GEP will soon be implemented as an upper-level course at UWA. Students in the GEP course will build upon lessons learned in SEA-PHAGES and CODE. Follow the link above to learn more about the Genomics Education Partnership.