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Acquisition of a Thermal Cycler and QPCR Instrument to Incorporate Molecular Biochemistry into Undergraduate Research and Education

This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). <br/><br/>Support from the NSF MRI-R2 program allowed Lake Superior State University, a small, public primarily undergraduate institution, to acquire two systems. The first is a thermal cycler, an apparatus that amplifies segments of DNA via the polymerase chain reaction process. The second is a quantitative polymerase chain reaction system. The instrumentation expands current research in molecular biology, and allows faculty and students to progress in the area of molecular biology research. Projects include identification and monitoring of microbial species in drinking and recreational water, studies of Blastomycosis caused by the dimorphic fungal pathogen Blastomyces dermatitidis, investigations of the mer operon in the bacterial community of the Upper St. Marys River associated with the Cannelton Industries Superfund, and the recovery of the New York state-endangered round whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum). The instrumentation is also used to promote undergraduate research; introduce fundamental molecular biology techniques into the undergraduate chemistry curriculum; and support faculty, student, and community partnerships. Student training and teaching will impact a large fraction of the Native American students pursuing baccalaureate degrees at Lake Superior State University. Results from the studies enabled by the new equipment are disseminated by student and faculty presentations at regional and national meetings, and through publication in peer-reviewed journals.

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