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SEM Project Ideas for Undergrad

  1. Jan 30, 2014 #1
    Hey Forum,

    So I am in my final semester in my undergraduate program for Biology. I am going into bioimaging field of study, so I took on a research elective utilizing a scanning electron microscope.

    I am also taking a one credit directed study in microbiology which is used to combine and substitute for another course in order for my graduate.

    While others who are doing an SEM project can choose to do a project on any topic, I am to relate my SEM to microbiology. Kind of hard because its not really my favorite subject.

    I was hoping to get some ideas of what I can do research on (keeping in mind this is undergraduate level).

    My micro professor has suggested something about testing microbes against drug treatments. Honestly, it had been a while since I actually took microbiology I was a little daunted by the terminology.

    I feel a little lost. Any suggestions would be helpful! Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 30, 2014 #2
    Feed microbes fats at different concentrations as well as fat metabolic inhibitors (if they exist). Image them for membrane morphological changes.

    The point here is that lipids are an essential part of the LPS that causes human immune response and septic shock. Lipid metabolism and incorporation into LPS structures or lipid bilayers that make up the cellular membrane, unlike proteins with their DNA templates, have no code to control for it. Lipid metabolic networks then have to essentially respond to extracellular environment and nutrients. Also, bacteria are used as overexpression systems for things like membrane proteins. Unfortunately, when you try to overexpress membrane proteins in cellular systems, proteins aggregate, don't fold properly, yadda yadda. You can make a yeast or bacteria produce almost any protein you want, however, a bottleneck is that cell membranes have capacity limits. Maybe if we better understand how bacteria could possibly grow based on environments with different lipid content, you could optimize the environment for bacterial expression systems to produce to create the largest possible membrane surface area for membrane proteins, which would help maximize your yields of properly folded membrane proteins.

    Lots of ideas.
  4. Jan 30, 2014 #3
    Microtubules are the recent rage. If I was looking at a cell with a SEM, I'd be happy just to get one of those things roughly centered in my image.
    Perhaps you should measure the energy required to break a microtubule under different stress configurations.
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