The Science Undergraduate Research Initiative: BiotechStudent working in the lab at the JCC Science Center

Research experience is vital for students. The Science Undergraduate Research Initiative (SURI) is designed to give students an authentic lab experience by letting them perform research on a variety of topics, from the epidemiology of heartworm and Lyme disease, to cancer and immunology.

And this program isn't just for JCC students. We've expanded SURI into the high school level, through the High School Undergraduate Research Initiative/Science Undergraduate Research Initiative (HURI SURI). Now, area high school students will have the chance to perform research and take part in an interdisciplinary, college level course called Biology: A Molecular Approach (BAMA).

Through SURI: Biotech and HURI SURI, students learn the practical skills every scientist needs to know, like how to fine-tune their scientific writing and develop presentation skills. They learn how to use academic databases like PubMed and GenBank to read scientific literature and gain a better grasp of bioinformatics, genomics, and proteomics. But most importantly, they begin to think of themselves as scientists.

And the SURI: Biotech program is recognized by some of the finest universities in the area. University at Buffalo, St. Bonaventure University, and Rochester Institute of Technology all count SURI: Biotech as an equivalent research course. And the program isn't just for JCC students. It's open to students from all colleges. E-mail Dr. Crisman for details or give her a call at 716.338.1373.

Tier I vs. Tier II

This course gives students exposure to authentic laboratory environments and the practical application of the scientific method in the context of research projects. It is divided into laboratory experience and a weekly three hour colloquium where students receive lectures on key topics and present papers. The colloquium also trains students in lab notebook-keeping, scientific presentation skills, and reading/presenting biotechnology and biomedical literature. Research topics range from cancer biology and immunology to environmental biotechnology and deliberately use methods and interpretation of results unique to the field of biotechnology. When students enroll, they will be assigned to one of two tiers based on their training, but are blended together into a single course:

Tier I students have completed a first-year subcellular biology course. They are required to understand and explain the methods used and data presented in scientific literature and in their own research. 

Tier II students have taken advanced courses in subcellular biology, cellular biology, or biotechnology. They are expected to be able to understand and explain the underlying concepts in scientific literature and in their own research at an undergraduate level. This includes the methods, results, and conclusions drawn in the research.

If you're interested in applying for SURI, please contact Dr. Crisman at 716.338.1373 or e-mail her.

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