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 2015 list of projects below!
Project #1 - Can your cholesterol levels alter your immune system? (Catherine Andersen, PhD - Department of Biology)
Lipoproteins are the particles that transport cholesterol in blood. The study of lipoproteins has important implications for maintaining a healthy immune system, which protects our bodies from disease. This research project will study the effects of lipoproteins on immune cell activity, including how the cells multiply and metabolize cholesterol. We will also explore nutritional strategies that optimize the interactions between lipoproteins and immune cells in order to improve health.
Project #2 - Studying Autism and the Brain (Shannon Harding, PhD - Department of Psychology & Laura McSweeney, PhD - Department of Mathematics)
Behavioral neuroscience is a field that links brain structure and activity to behavior. In this project, students will learn about the organization of the human brain and the study of clinical conditions like autism in animals. Students will observe “autistic” and "normal" rats in behavior tests to see whether exposure to compounds during development can have long-term effects on learning. In the second part of the project, we will use statistics to summarize the data collected and to look for significant differences between the treatment groups. This project will also address the importance of studying gender differences in biomedical research.
Project #3 - Exploring Forensic Scientific Methods (Amanda Harper Leatherman, PhD -Department of Chemistry)
Forensic science is the application of science to help solve crime. In this project, students will explore scientific techniques used for the analysis of common types of physical evidence encountered at crime scenes such as plastics, fabrics, oils, arson accelerants, fingerprints, and/or blood. Students will work with mock crime scene evidence and will consider how the best methods for analysis are determined. Students will then make hypotheses and will design experiments to explore how individualizing different pieces of evidence are and/or what effects time, temperature, or environment may have on different types of evidence. In this way students will come away learning the power as well as the limitations of science with regards to forensic study.
Project #4 - The Germain Primes (Janet Striuli, PhD - Department of Mathematics)
The natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, …. hide the most mysterious secrets that even the most experienced mathematicians cannot crack down. Consider for example the equation x3 + y3=z3. It took hundreds of years to discover that such equation has no integer solutions, while the equation x2 + y2=z2 has infinitely many solutions, called the Pythagorean triplets. In this project, students will learn about the fascinating story of the Last Fermat Theorem, will discover properties of the Pythagorean triplets, and investigate a related and open question about the Sophie Germain prime numbers.
Project #5 - Investigating the Effects of Excercise on the Cardiovascular System (Shannon Gerry, PhD - Department of Biology)
Exercise has dramatic effects on the physiology of the cardiovascular system as indicated by changes in heart rate and breathing rate. In this project, students will dissect sheep hearts to understand how blood flows through the heart and receives oxygen and then they will learn to measure several physiological parameters using techniques such as electrocardiography (EKG) and respirometry. Students will generate hypotheses on the relationships between exercise, heart rate and breathing rate and design an experiment to quantify these relationships in their fellow campers.(Dr. Shannon Gerry, Biology)