LSU CURE (Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience) is a unique program that allows the integration of authentic research projects into introductory biology laboratory courses. To better understand science and gain confidence in their abilities to do scientific research, students in CURE biology labs focus on in-house research projects. Courses are communication-intensive with a strong focus on science literacy. With over 250 students enrolled in CURE labs each semester, introductory biology has been able to offer these experiences on a large scale to a diverse group of students.
CURE Lab Poster Session
The LSU CURE Poster Session is an opportunity for undergraduate students enrolled in introductory biology laboratory courses to showcase their semester-long research projects. Spring 2022 research projects included:
- growth of diatoms native to Japan and means of their economic exploitation with the aim of large-scale production in Louisiana
- effect of salinity on gene expression in the copepod, Tigriopus californicus
- better understand community assembly processes by looking into plant-soil interactions in the longleaf pine savannas
- collection and analysis of morphological data from herbarium specimens of Centropogon cornutus, to determine possible morphological differences between varying populations
The poster session for the Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) labs was held this past Thursday, May 5, in the LSU Student Union. Select students from CURE lab courses presented results from their semester-long research projects while other CURE students acted as judges. Projects this semester included how light intensity affects the growth of diatoms, how salinity affects gene expression in copepods, how plant and soil interactions could be influencing understory growth in a pine savannah, and whether temperature influences the morphology of an herb species in tropical America.
Over 250 introductory biology students participated in CURE labs this semester. Being that the call numbers are the same as those for traditional laboratory courses, including BIOL 1208 and BIOL 1209, this affords a diverse group of students the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research within the framework of a course and under the guidance of enthusiastic graduate students.
CURE labs are built around a 15-week agenda to include authentic, in-house research projects. While much of the curriculum is focused on science literacy skills, PIs and GTAs insert appropriate wet labs into the agenda to focus on a single research project throughout the semester. By answering questions that are unknown and relevant, student work produced within CURE labs is valuable beyond the classroom.