BASE Camp Projects
BASE Camp projects offer students an informative and fun week-long experience with actual scientific research during the first week of camp. Projects change every year, allowing students to choose from a variety of topics including biomedical science, medicinal chemistry, forensics, developmental biology, evolutionary biology, marine ecology, software engineering, mechanical engineering, behavioral psychology, neuroscience, biophysics, and applied mathematics. Check out our 2013 list of projects below!
Evaluating Chemical Agents That Inhibit Bacterial Growth
Phyllis Braun, Ph.D. - Department of Biology
Microorganisms have existed on earth for more than 3 billion years, and over this time plants and animals have evolved from these microscopic forms. Not only are they important for evolution, but also they are responsible for continually recycling the carbon, oxygen and nitrogen that all life requires. In addition to the useful roles that microbes play in our daily lives, some also play a sinister role. History has recorded many infectious disease epidemics that have killed vast numbers of people, and microorganisms have killed far more people than have ever been killed in war. Understanding that bacteria are ever-present and the importance of controlling bacterial growth are easy ways to stay healthy. Students will investigate their environment to determine the ubiquitous nature of bacteria and test a variety of physical methods or chemical agents in the inhibition of bacterial growth.
Investigating Marine ‘Invasions’ in Long Island Sound
Diane Brousseau, Ph.D. - Department of Biology
Laura McSweeney, Ph.D. - Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
This marine biology field project will study the ecology of the Asian shore crab, a non-native species which ‘invaded’ Long Island Sound in the 1990’s. The students will use mark-recapture techniques to generate crab mobility data which they will analyze in the statistical component of the project. Part of the day will be spent along the shores of Long Island Sound collecting, releasing and recapturing crabs they have tagged and measured in the laboratory. Students will also analyze the data they collected using graphical summaries and statistical hypothesis testing.
How Our Oceans Move and Why We Care
Shanon Reckinger, Ph.D. - Department of Mechanical Engineering
Our oceans cover approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface making them an extremely important part of our climate system. In order to understand how and why our climate is changing, we must understand our oceans and how they work with the rest of the planet. In this project, we will explore the numerous ways of studying the ocean including computational models, observational data from satellites,
experimental lab setups, and observations from our own eyes. Students will make
connections between the ocean and the climate, and will also learn what they can
do to make a difference.
Testing Anti-Cancer Compounds on Human Leukemia Cells
Shelley Phelan, Ph.D. - Department of Biology
Cancerous cells have the ability to grow continuously without the proper cellular restraints. This research project will allow students to work with an established human leukemia cell line and learn how to grow these cells in the laboratory. Students will be introduced to a number of drugs used (or proposed) for cancer treatment. They will learn how to find relevant biomedical literature, how to design a cell-based experiment, and they will be asked to hypothesize about the effect of specific drugs on the growth of cancer cells. Then in the laboratory, students will learn how to use a pipette, culture human cells, observe and analyze cells with standard light microscopy, and measure cell growth and cell death in response to chemical treatment.
Understanding How Genes Work Using Nematodes
Anita Fernandez, Ph.D. - Department of Biology
Our genes determine many aspects of our appearance and personality. How do scientists study what individual genes do? In this project students will use Caenorhabditis elegans, a tiny nematode worm, to study the function of several genes. Students will study mutant worms that carry genetic defects that destroy a gene's function. In some cases, destruction of gene function can lead to sterility, growth problems, and even death. By observing what happens when gene function is disrupted, students will infer the normal function of the gene. Human beings and lowly worms share many of the same genes - therefore by studying gene function in the worm, we are also learning about how these genes work in humans.