Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Diversity in Entomology
The department’s Research and Education Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU) program, Diversity in Entomology, began in 2021 with support from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).
The program focuses on mentoring students for success in diverse work environments and providing a support network designed to bolster their success beyond the project.
The Entomology REEU program is specifically directed at undergraduate students from Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK), Texas Southern University (TSU), and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).
Research Experiences for Undergraduates
We also offer undergraduate research opportunities through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.
The REU program is a grant-based summer program held by universities across the nation to enhance undergraduate participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research. For 10 weeks, REU students participate in real-world scientific investigations under the guidance of a faculty mentor and receive both a stipend and housing for the duration of the program.
Participating Research Projects
The following faculty members and labs accept undergraduate students to participate in research projects through the REEU and REU programs.
Analyzing Phenotypes of mutations in genes involved in DNA Repair, immune defense, sexual development, bloodfeeding and digestion in the mosquito
Zach Adelman, Ph.D.
Possible Projects for an REU student would focus on analyzing the phenotypes of CRISPR/Cas9 mutations in genes involved in DNA repair, immune defense, sexual development, bloodfeeding and digestion in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
Anjel Helms, Ph.D.
Potential projects in Dr. Anjel Helms’ lab include understanding more about the relationships between plants and beneficial microbes and the chemical compounds that mediate these interactions.
Ecology and Population Genetics of Urban Ant Pests and Termites’ interaction with Wood Rot Fungi
Edward Vargo, Ph.D.
Dr. Vargo’s lab has opportunities for potential research projects in the area of the biology and management of urban pests. One area of active research is on the ecology and population genetics of urban ant pests. Another project focuses on the interaction of termites and wood rot fungi. Students will also be involved in a project on studying the molecular basis of density-dependent phenotypic plasticity in locusts.
Honey Bee Research
Juliana Rangel, Ph.D.
Potential projects in Dr. Juliana Rangel’s lab include: Determining the types and levels of honey bee-associated viruses in feral Africanized honey bees compared to nearby managed honey bees; Testing the efficacy of various protein supplements and their effects of these supplements on colony growth and performance; Measuring the pollination efficacy of honey bee colonies when placed in fields of specialty crops; and testing the effects of poor nutrition on honey bee queen and/or drone reproductive quality.
Molecular basis of acoustic communication in crickets and katydids
Hojun Song, Ph.D.
The students joining Dr. Song’s lab will be involved in a project on studying the molecular basis of acoustic communication in crickets and katydids. Students will also be involved in a project on studying the molecular basis of density-dependent phenotypic plasticity in locusts.
Molecular interactions among Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, the potato psyllid, and host plants
Cecilia Tamborindeguy, Ph.D.
The student joining Dr. Tamborindeguy’s lab will contribute to their research, studying molecular interactions among ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’, a bacterial pathogen, its vector, the potato psyllid, and its host plant. Students will learn about entomology, plant physiology and microbiology and gaining practical experience in identifying protein-protein interactions, and performing gene expression analyses, PCR and cloning.