Faculty, Students Selected for CUR Program

October 23, 2023

A faculty member and two students from St. John Fisher University were recently selected by the Council on Undergraduate Research to participate in a six-month collaborative research program.

Zachary Murphy

Biology majors Kristina “Krissy” Wilson ’24 and Charly Campanella ’24 will work alongside Dr. Zachary Murphy, visiting assistant professor of biology, through the 2023-2024 Students Transforming Through Research Program (STR). This six-month program allows the students to engage in research projects while honing their development, training, and networking skills. The program allows for the team to present their findings through a presentation to stakeholder groups.

The two students will be working on individual and original research projects under the mentorship of Murphy.

Campanella’s research focuses on the creation of inexpensive resources for erythroid research and making research more inclusive overall. She will conduct four main experiments with the goal of identifying the most inexpensive and efficient way of producing high quality data.

“Research can be very expensive. Machines and biochemicals can be costly, and they do not always have a long shelf life. We want to create the most optimal resources at St. John Fisher University that other primarily undergraduate institutions can adopt,” said Campanella.

Wilson has two objectives for her research, which involves testing the sense of smell of C. elegans, a type of roundworm. The first is finding out if wild-type (found in nature/normal) C. elegans can smell the A549 cancer cell line. Secondly, she wants to confirm if cancer cells can be used as a choice assay to test if worms can smell. Wilson is working on a mutant worm line where the worm lacks the TBA-5 gene. Without this gene inside the worm, she wanted to find out if the gene impacts the C. elegans sense of smell.

The students will begin their projects this October and present their findings in the spring. Murphy said his goal is to create an environment where students control the phases of their learning process from planning to experience to reflection. The experience overall is to impact the academic growth of the students, give them a taste of what it’s like to present in front of stakeholders, and encourage them to continue to submit their research for various opportunities, he said.

This article was written by D Rivera ’26, a public relations major and assistant in the Office of Marketing and Communications.