Play a Part in the Advancement of Human Knowledge

Become a part of Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) professional research community, and participate in externally sponsored projects worth $107 million. Join a wide range of research projects on campus, from monitoring gopher tortoise activity to researching periodontal disease. Get hands-on experience as a research volunteer. Earn academic and experiential learning units. Define your career interests through independent study. Learn directly from leaders of the scientific world, and gain research skills that stay with you no matter what field you’re in.

Algae Biosorption of Heavy Metals

We are determining how two species of algae, Neochloris alveolaris and Neochloris minuta, biosorb heavy metals. These algae are grown in different media that change their biochemical compositions (carbohydrate, protein, and lipids), and we are trying to determine how these changes influence their biosorption of metals.

In addition, we have noticed that their biosorption might be dependent on metal size (they like to biosorb larger metal ions rather than smaller), so we are now testing that hypothesis.
NSU students conducting research on campus

Faculty Research Lead
Dimitrios Giarikos, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics, Farquhar Honors College
giarikos@nova.edu

Interested? Send an email
View staff page

Recommended Majors
Chemistry, biology, marine biology, environmental sciences

Preferred Experience
Some chemistry coursework (preferably at least general chemistry)

Possibility of Coauthorship
Yes

Position Description
Research volunteer (unpaid)

Time Commitment
Three hours per day, twice a week (total of six hours per week)

Semesters
Winter 2021, Summer 2021, Fall 2021

Assessment of Gopher Tortoise Activity and Faunal Diversity

We are assessing gopher tortoise activity and faunal diversity associated with tortoise burrows using trail cameras at two South Florida natural areas. The gopher tortoise is an ecologically important organism distributed throughout the southeastern United States and a keystone species due to the burrows they create. These excavated habitats provide shelter for hundreds of commensal species that escape from wildfires and extreme heat during summer months.

Turtle research at NSU

We deployed six trail cameras (three at each site) at the entrance of gopher tortoise burrows in two natural areas (Fern Forest and Military Trail) in Broward County. With motion-activated cameras, we took pictures of animals at the burrow entrance over a 21-month period. We left the cameras in the field for 5 to 14 days at a time before retrieving and swapping out the SD cards.

The data collected so far has revealed a total of 10 species recorded at dens in Fern Forest over a total of 104 camera days, whereas a total of six species were recorded at dens in Military Trail over a total of 135 camera days. Gopher tortoises were captured in 339 pictures at Military Trail out of a total of 864 pictures taken and 1,192 pictures at Fern Forest out of a total of 7,154 pictures taken. This data will provide insight into the activity and use of dens by the protected gopher tortoise and associated animals in its habitat.

Faculty Research Lead
Paul Arena, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
arenap@nova.edu

Interested? Send an email
View staff page

Recommended Majors
Biology, marine biology, environmental science

Preferred Experience
None required. Students will be trained.

Possibility of Coauthorship
Yes

Position Description
Research volunteer (unpaid)

Time Commitment
10 hours per week for eight weeks

Semesters
Winter 2021, Summer 2021

Effect of Carbon Dioxide on Individual and School Swimming Performance in a Coral Reef Fish

The goal of our project is to evaluate if individual and/or group (i.e., school) swimming performance may be hindered by projected future carbon dioxide (CO2) conditions under climate change. We will conduct video analysis of the redbelly yellowtail fusilier (Caesio cuning) to measure tail-beat frequency (i.e., the number of times that the tail swings back and forth at a given swimming speed) in solitary and schooling fish.

NSU student conducting research on campus

We hypothesize that fish exposed to high CO2 conditions increase their tail-beat frequency to cope with elevated water flow rates when compared with those accustomed to present-day conditions. If so, these changes could have profound impacts on their energy requirements. We will also assess school performance, including position preference and shuffling in the group as well as school shape, density, and volume, to assess how projected future climate change may functionally alter social behavior on coral reefs.

The undergraduate will work under the mentorship of Dr. Lauren Nadler (assistant professor in the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences) and a graduate student to complete the work. In addition to research, students will also be expected to read and discuss the scientific literature related to this project topic during regular meetings.

Faculty Research Lead
Dr. Lauren Nadler
Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences
lnadler@nova.edu

Interested? Send an email

Recommended Majors
Marine biology, environmental sciences

Preferred Experience
None Required

Possibility of Coauthorship
Yes

Position Description
Research volunteer (unpaid)

Time Commitment
10 hours per week for 16 weeks

Semesters
Fall 2021

Game-Based Cognitive Training

In this project, we will complete the initial development of a gaming-oriented cognitive training app to promote improved psychomotor speed, attention, and executive function in older adults with age-related cognitive decline.

Faculty Research Lead
Dr. Raymond Ownby
Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
ro71@nova.edu

NSU students conducting research on campus
Recommended Majors
Any

Preferred Experience
Programming experience and interest in video game creation are essential. Knowledge of C# and Unity is helpful.

Possibility of Coauthorship
Yes

Position Description
Research volunteer (unpaid)

Time Commitment
Five or more hours per week

Semesters
Timing

Introduction to Biology Research I/II (Course)

This course is a unique undergraduate research opportunity designed for freshman- and/or sophomore-level students interested in a career in the sciences. Students will take ownership of their own research projects by formulating a hypothesis and designing experiments to test that hypothesis, thus allowing students to experience what it is like to be a research scientist.

NSU students attending introduction to biology course

Specifically, students will work on a discovery-based research project to attempt to discover novel viruses that target bacteria as an antibiotic alternative to killing bacteria. Throughout the process, students will collect and analyze their data and then present their findings.

This course is part of a two-course sequence; therefore, students are required to enroll in BIOL 1001: Introduction to Biology Research II Lab in the winter semester. The prerequisites are MATH 1040 or higher and COMP 1000.

Faculty Research Lead
Dr. Julie Torruellas Garcia
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Halmos College of Arts and Sciences
jg1511@nova.edu

Interested? Send an email

View Staff Page

Recommended Majors
Any

Preferred Experience
MATH 1040 or higher and COMP 1000, but no prior research experience necessary

Possibility of Coauthorship
Yes

Academic Credit
Course credit and ExEL units based on number of hours earned during the activity

Time Commitment
Two to three hours per day, two days per week

Semesters
Fall 2021

Microbiome/Genomics

Dr. Jose Lopez’s research pivots on the action of genes and genomes, microbes, and evolution. His symbiosis research has focused on microbial communities (“microbiomes”) of sponges, sharks, humans, and bats and, recently, Port Everglades Inlet sediments. The Dr. Lopez’s molecular genomics laboratory now applies metagenomics methods to characterize the water quality of local South Florida habitats, especially focusing on microbiomes related to harmful algal blooms.

NSU student conducting research on campus

We have recently begun a project to sequence the whole genomes of 100 aquatic invertebrate species pairs (https://www.sanger.ac.uk/collaboration/aquatic-symbiosis-project/). This project’s analyses portion will require bioinformatics interest and expertise with Linux, Bash, etc.

Faculty Research Lead
Dr. Jose V. Lopez
Professor, Halmos College of Arts and Science
joslo@nova.edu

Interested? Send an email
View staff page

Recommended Majors
Biology, computer science

Preferred Experience
PCR, DNA, R

Possibility of Coauthorship
Yes

Position Description
Research volunteer (unpaid)

Time Commitment
4–10 hours per week

Semesters
Winter 2021, Summer 2021

Survival and Development of Zebra Longwing on Native and Non-Native Passive Vines

Zebra longwing butterflies (Heliconius charithonia) are distributed throughout the southernmost regions of the United States into South America and are abundant across Florida. These heliconian butterflies not only consume nectar but are also known to feed on pollen, resulting in a longer life span than most butterflies. In their larval stage, H. charithonia feed exclusively on Passiflora species; however, larval performance and survival across the diversity of passion vine species is not well documented. We examined criteria of zebra longwings from egg to adulthood on two passion vines native to Florida—corky stem (Passiflora suberosa) and maypop (Passiflora incarnata)—as well as one non-native species, bluecrown (Passiflora caerulea).

We captured zebra longwing females in the wild and kept them in enclosures so they could lay their eggs. We distributed the eggs from one female evenly into enclosures, each containing one Passiflora species. The percentage of survival from egg to larvae, larvae to chrysalis, chrysalis to adult, and egg to adult was determined, as well as the forewing length of adults for each Passiflora species. Preliminary results indicated a potential incompatibility between H. charithonia larvae and P. caerulea, whereas the greatest survival occurred with larvae reared on P. suberosa.

Faculty Research Lead
Paul Arena, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
arenap@nova.edu

Interested? Send an email
View staff page

Recommended Majors
Biology, environmental science, marine biology

Preferred Experience
None required. Students will be trained.

Possibility of Coauthorship
Yes

Position Description
Research volunteer (unpaid)

Time Commitment
Five hours per week for eight weeks

Semesters
Winter 2021, Summer 2021

Trophics and Contaminants in Marine Fauna

We’re researching several projects in the Charismatic Megafauna and Oceanography Laboratory, studying both inorganic and organic contaminants in marine mammals, birds, and fish in bodies of water around the world. We utilize a variety of tissues, the study of food web dynamics, and bioaccumulation of contaminants.

Faculty Research Lead
Amy Hirons, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
hirons@nova.edu

Interested? Send an email
View staff page

Recommended Majors
Biology, marine biology, environmental science

Preferred Experience
This research must be pertinent to a student’s career aspirations.

Possibility of Coauthorship
Yes

Position Description
Research Volunteer (unpaid)

Time Commitment
8-10 hours per week

Semesters
Summer 2021

Volatile Organic Compounds in Periodontal Disease and Oral Bacteria  

Periodontal disease is the sixth most common inflammatory disease worldwide, affecting half of the American population. It eventually destroys the tooth-supporting tissues, leading to tooth loss. Periodontitis is associated with increased risk of various critical, systemic disorders, including cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, gastrointestinal and pulmonary infections, cancer, diabetes, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Recent research has demonstrated malodors are produced in the advanced stage of periodontal disease.
NSU student conduction research on campus

However, the contribution of odors and their amounts to the disease process and progression is unknown. Our lab focuses on identifying these unique malodors as potential biomarkers that can serve as indicators of the severity and stage of this progressive disease.

Faculty Research Lead
Katie Crump, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Halmos College of Oceanography and Natural Sciences
kcrump@nova.edu

Interested? Send an email
View staff page


Jessica Brown, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Halmos College of Oceanography and Natural Sciences
jbrown3@nova.edu

Interested? Send an email
View staff page

Recommended Majors
Biology, chemistry

Preferred Experience
Some lab experience (BIOL1500, BIOL1510, CHEM1300, or CHEM1310)

Possibility of Coauthorship
Yes

Position Description
Research Volunteer or independent study

Time Commitment
Three days a week (about 3–5 hours a day) for a total of 12–14 weeks in the summer

Semesters
Summer 2021

Independent Study

This one is for the overachievers. Want to dive deeper into a particular subject or research an untraditional subject? Choose from topics like these:

  • a Phase II study of Bacopa in Gulf War illness (GWI)
  • oleoylethanolamide supplement in GWI
  • identifying APOE4-related lipid biomarkers for diagnosing chronic neurocognitive deficits in TBI patients
  • a Phase I/II study of B cell depletion therapy in GWI
  • nicotinamide riboside clinical trial for GWI
  • exploring dietary influence on complex multisymptom illnesses by exploring molecular mechanisms and genomics
  • exploring autism—a comprehensive study

You can contact Dr. Amanpreet Cheema directly to learn more about the opportunities.

Faculty Research Lead
Amanpreet Cheema, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University
acheema@nova.edu

Interested? Send an email

Contact the Office of Undergraduate Research

If you have any questions, please email Jeff Hartman at jhartman2@nova.edu or call(954) 892-0351. 

Current Students

Get in touch with your academic and career adviser if you have questions about coursework or to chat about future career goals.

Connect With Your Adviser

Faculty

If you are looking for undergraduate student assistance on a research project, please submit an NSU Undergraduate Research Opportunities form.

Complete the Form