Office of Undergraduate Research Undergraduate research will set you apart.

Grammatical Gender Lab Assistant Position Available

Lab Description: When learning Spanish as a second language, native English speakers (NES) face grammatical gender, i.e. the classification of a word as male or female.  Grammatical gender influences the connotative meaning of the word. In Spanish, besides morphological rules for assigning gender (i.e. female words ending in “a” and males words ending in “o”), gender assignment relies on other less clear-cut rules.  Some English words have a perceived gender. NES learners of Spanish rely on morphological rules, or on the natural gender of the word-referent (e.g. cow vs. bull) to assign word gender.  Beyond these clues, NES may use the perceived gender of the corresponding English word.  This study attempts to elucidate if the perceived gender of an English word affects the speed and accuracy of the gender assignment to its Spanish translation. 

Benefits: Lab Experience, learn useful programs like Eprime and SPSS, build facility relationships, continue into more research projects, possible publication

Time Commitment: Rough Idea= 3 hours per week, weekly meeting with Dr. Lazarte

If Interested: Contact Dr. Lazarte and express your interest! Sent up a time to meet and discuss any questions and how to get started! Dr. Lazarte’s email:; please make the subject line “Grammatical Gender Lab Assistant Inquiry” 

How to Make and Give an Oral Presentation for the Student Symposium (03/01/18)

The URAs will give a brief presentation of the do’s and don’t’s for oral presentations. There will also be several examples of good and bad PowerPoints as well as pointers for the talking aspect of the presentation. After the presentation, there will be a Q&A session where students can further ask about oral presentations. The workshop will be in Mell 4520 from 6-7 PM.

Writing Workshop (10/26/2017)

Undergraduate Research Ambassadors logo

Thinking about applying for an Undergraduate Research Fellowship? The URAs are hosting a workshop to help you build a strong application. We will be able to answer general questions regarding the timeline of the application process, what is required of fellows, and how to present your application in a unique manner. The workshop will include a short presentation, a Q&A session, and one-on-one time to work with a URA. The event will take place on October 26 6-7 PM in the Student Center room 2218.

Role of Sugary Water Consumption in Adipose Gene Expression

By: Jami Myong Reece, Michael W. Greene
Although obesity is not an infectious disease, one could describe the state of obesity in the U.S. as an epidemic due to its relatively high prevalence that transcends age, gender, and socioeconomic groups. Subsequent conditions linked to obesity include but are not limi ted to type II diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease, stroke, and even some types of cancer. Although obesity is most closely associated with elevated body mass, it is more accurately diagnosed by excess adipose tissue, which can result from diets high in fat and sugar like those common in the US.
To understand better the role of sugar in adipose gene expression, we performed transcriptional profiling using RNA sequencing (RNAseq) in adipose tissues of mice fed a control chow diet, a high-fat Western diet (HFWD), or a HFWD with 4% sugary water (HFWDS) over 12 weeks. We observed 548 epididymal white adipose tissue (eWAT) genes that were differentially expressed greater than two-fold in mice fed the HFWDS compared to those fed the HFWD. Samples were also co llected from two other major white adipose tissue depots: retroperitoneal and inguinal; time did not allow complete analysis of gene expression in these depots in this project. We conducted quantitat ive reverse transcription polymerase chain reactions (qRT-PCR) on retroperitoneal white adipose tissue and inguinal white adipose tissue in addition to eWAT to verify the RNAseq results.
Our results confirm differences in gene regulation among the differing diets. Statistical analysis revealed that the expression of two key genes correlated with obesity-associated parameters. The expression of Cyp1a1 was demonstrated to be down-regulated in association with HFWDS. The expression of Glt6d1, which was demonstrated to be up-regulated in mice with a HFWDS, exhibited positive correlation with blood glucose levels. Additional studies of these genes and their expressi on in adipocytes will further elucidate their role in adipose tissues. Our findings may pave the way to uncovering novel mechanisms for pathogenesis within adipose tissue and potential targets for therapeutics to treat obesity-linked conditions. Further research to elucidate the mechanisms by which these genes and corresponding proteins operate in relation to sugary water consumption would also shed light on how our favorite soft drinks and juices are affecting our overall health.

Statement of Research Advisor

Jami’s research focused on validating results from a gene expression discovery experiment to examine the role of sugary water consumption. Our objective was to identify genes that may regulate adipose tissue dysfunction, which is commonly associated with obesity. Jami’s results indicate that consumption of sugary water in an animal model of obesity results in differential regulation of specific genes within the adipose tissue. Her results have contributed to our understanding of the role of adipose tissue in the pathophysiology of obesity.

Michael Green, Nutrition

NCUR 2017 Abstract Submissions Due Dec. 2

Abstracts submissions are due December 2 for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2017 that will be held April 6-8, 2017, at the University of Memphis.

Students interested in attending NCUR 2017 should contact Dr. Lorraine Wolf, Director of Undergraduate Research, at Additional information about NCUR 2017 is available here.

Six Auburn undergraduates attended NCUR 2016 at the University of North Carolina where they presented their research discoveries to a national audience of their peers.

Check out our tips on how to write an effective abstract.