• Freshman bio students get new opportunities for research

    Bacterial virusEccentric billionaire Howard Hughes’ interest in biomedical research half a century ago will benefit Baylor students beginning this fall, as some BU freshmen join students from 36 other universities and colleges in an undergraduate research project that will walk them through discovering, studying and even naming a bacterial virus.

    Baylor was selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a non-profit medical research organization started by Hughes that ranks among the nation’s largest philanthropies, to join the Science Education Alliance, a two-part, year-long course that allows students to become involved with research even as freshmen. The course will be taught in a pair of new introductory biology courses.

    In the first semester, students will isolate a bacterial virus (like the one pictured here) and study its DNA. Between terms, the DNA will be sent to the Joint Genome Institute-Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico for sequencing; students will then spend the second course using bioinformatics tools to analyze the genomes. (Click here to hear what students at other universities have said about their experiences in this program.)

    Sic ’em, Baylor researchers, from faculty to freshmen!