May 31 - July 11, 2016

(dates are tentative)

Applications for SURF 2016 will be opening soon - check back regularly.

Participants in the SURF program work in an active research laboratory under the guidance of a faculty member with the goal of exposing students to the challenges, excitement and satisfaction of research.

Selection is based on academic records and the appropriateness of the applicant’s scientific interests. Students about to begin their senior year of college studies are preferred, but promising juniors and recent graduates will be considered.

Participants are provided with room, board and a $600 stipend. Six undergraduate credit hours in biology are also available tuition-free to all program participants. In addition, those program participants who meet minimum requirements for admission to OU-HCOM, including having taken the MCAT, will be offered an opportunity to interview during the summer.

* Important note to those who may have already applied to our medical school through AACOMAS*

You will need to use the same email address for your SURF application as you did on your AACOMAS application.

The link above will take you to our application log in screen.  Select the New Applicant Registration link at the bottom to set up your account.  Once your account has been set up, you can select the link to apply to SURF.

Once you are in the application portal, you will be able to complete the application at your own pace and you may save and come back to the form as needed. The portal will also be the place to check on the status of your application.

SURF 2015 Faculty Mentors:
(Check back for 2016 Faculty Mentors - this list is just to give an idea of what research opportunities were like in the past)

You will be able to select up to five faculty mentors below with whom you would like to work.  Please rank them in order of preference on your application essay.

Ronan Carroll, Ph.D.
Control of toxin production and secretion in Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA).  Identification and characterization of small RNAs and their role in S. aureus infection. 

Brian Clark, Ph.D.
The overall goal of my research is to develop effective and implementable interventions that increase muscle function (e.g., muscle strength, motor control, fatigue-resistance) and physical performance in older adults, and/or patients with orthopedic and neurologic disabilities for preventative and rehabilitation medicine. I have expertise and experience with basic and applied science human physiology experiments as well as randomized controlled trials (including phase 1 and 2 trials). As such, my work is in the area of ‘translational physiology’, as it sits at the intersection of the bench and bedside. Within this scope my laboratory maintains programmatic efforts in two focused areas: 1) the causes of low back pain and non-surgical strategies to alleviate low back pain, and 2) the causes of impaired muscle function (e.g., muscle weakness, fatigue, unsteadiness) in the elderly and interventional strategies to enhance muscle and physical function in elders. The research across these foci has an overarching aim of developing interventions that remove barriers to independent physical mobility and ultimately reduce disability.

Robert Colvin, Ph.D.
Our current research is focused on delineating the molecular mechanisms underlying the neurodegeneration that occurs in a variety of disorders such as cerebral ischemia and Alzheimer's Disease. Zinc is quite abundant in the brain. It is an essential trace element required as a co-factor for several metalloproteins (e.g., transcription factors, metalloenzymes), but may also have signaling functions too. Like most other things in life, too much zinc is not good for cell survival. High levels of zinc inside cells, kill them, so there are several cellular mechanisms for maintaining intracellular zinc concentrations within a narrow range. One important mechanism is zinc transporters, but very little is known about these proteins. Elevations of intracellular zinc may contribute to glutamate excitotoxicity (a mechanism of neuron death in stroke) and play a role in Alzheimer's disease pathology. We are using several different techniques to study zinc transport. These include direct measurement of the zinc transport function in primary cell culture and various imaging techniques using fluorescent dyes.

Karen Coschigano, Ph.D.
The main research focus of my laboratory is the identification of genes, proteins and regulatory pathways involved in the development of diabetic nephropathy, or kidney damage, with an emphasis on the roles of growth hormone, STAT5 and inflammation. My group uses mouse models, cell culture and gene expression assays including real-time RT/PCR, western blot and immunohistochemical analyses. We are also using bioinformatics to evaluate gene expression.

Mario Grijalva, Ph.D.
Tropical Disease Research in Ecuador: Epidemiological, entomological, sociological and clinical studies in rural communities of Ecuador. Activities will focus on collection and analysis of biological material in the field (mobile laboratory) and further analysis of samples and data at the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Quito, Ecuador and in Athens.

John Kopchick, Ph.D.
Molecular basis of aging, growth hormone action, obesity and diabetes.

Don Miles, Ph.D.
Responses of ectothermic (“cold-blooded) organisms to climate warming, thermal and biophysical ecology of lizards, Diversity in mating systems and alternative mating strategies, evolution of adaptive phenotypic plasticity as a strategy for coping with fluctuating environments, ecological opportunity, habitat variation and adaptive radiations.

Erin Murphy, Ph.D.
My research focuses on understanding how bacteria control the production of disease-associated factors in response to specific environmental conditions encountered within the human host. We are particularly interested in Shigella dysenteriae and how this disease causing bacterium utilizes regulatory RNA molecules to control the production and/or activity of disease-associated factors. Research in my laboratory utilizes many standard molecular biology techniques including, but not limited to, DNA cloning, gene mutation, Real-time PCR as well as western and northern blot analyses.

Allan Showalter, Ph.D. 
Molecular and cellular biology approaches to the structure, biosynthesis and function of plant cell surface proteins, including the use of genetic mutants and transgenics in Arabidopsis. DNA barcoding of medicinal plants to authenticate plant material and detect potential adulterants.

Tomohiko Sugiyama, Ph.D.
We are studying the mechanisms of DNA homologous recombination, DNA repair, and mutagenesis. By using purified proteins and model DNA substrates, we are investigating the details of biochemical processes of DNA repair/recombination. We are also working on the mechanisms of repair error, which cause mutations.

Soichi Tanda, Ph.D.
One of research projects in my lab is to elucidate genetic relationships of Clic5a to genes involved in remodeling actin cytoskeleton in mice.  Clic5a is one of essential proteins to link actin bundles to plasma membrane of stereocilia of hair cells in the inner ear.  Thus, loss of Clic5a leads to deafness in mice as well as humans.  To understand how Clic5a works with other actin cytoskeleton modulators, I am planning to create Clic5a mutants with mutations of these modulators for their genetic interaction.  Morphologies of stereoscilia will be examined by staining of actin with confocal microscopy.

Sarah Wyatt, Ph.D.
We use genetic, molecular and bioinformatics analyses to identify components of plant signaling pathways responsible for responses to gravitropism on Earth and the space flight environment. 


  Ohio University
Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
102 Grosvenor Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701
Tel: 1-800-345-1560
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Last updated: 10/02/2015