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Honors Research

Exceptional students in the Biology Department have the opportunity to pursue a research project as part of the Judson College Honors Program. Biology research projects involve independent, original experiments in the laboratory and in the field. These are not your typical undergraduate lab activities, where you know the expected result beforehand. Honors research experiments have never been performed before, and the result is unknown until you do the experiment!

Requirements for the Honors Program include:

  • a minimum 3.5 GPA
  • demonstration of exceptional ability in the classroom
  • presentation of results orally and in writing
  • self-motivation and the ability to work independently

Students do not receive academic credit for Honors research, and the Honors project does not affect GPA. Students who successfully complete an Honors project will receive special recognition at Graduation.

Current Biology Honors Students

Laura Thompson (’16)Laura

“The Cahaba River is Alabama’s longest free-flowing river and runs within 6 miles of the Judson College campus. For my project, I am testing the water of the Cahaba for environmental pollutants. These pollutants include harmful bacteria commonly found in sewage. I have been testing the Cahaba periodically to quantify levels of these harmful bacteria. I am also testing the Cahaba for chemical pollutants, particularly pharmaceutical drugs. I have done this by identifying the chemicals in the Cahaba using mass spectrometry, as well as testing the effects of Cahaba River water on a diverse set of living organisms, from bacteria to fish.”

Hannah Patterson (’16)

Hannah“I studied the rate of a reaction that is sped up using an enzyme called Trametes versicolor laccase. TvL is found in decaying plants such as trees that have white rot fungus growing on them. We were interested in studying this enzyme and how it works so that we can one day apply it to an advanced water filtration system that will remove harmful chemicals from wastewater that are not currently filtered out.”

Hannah performed her research at Samford University as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates Program funded by the National Science Foundation (Summer 2015).