Faculty Mentor: Jessica Amber Jennings, PhD

Department: Biomedical Engineering

Contact Information:  901-676-2283 -

Project Description: The Jennings lab conducts research on biomaterials for tissue repair and regeneration, including infection prevention and treatment strategies, targeted drug delivery, and tissue scaffolds. Students will perform various technical tasks such as cell culture, microbiology culture, materials fabrication, and high performance liquid chromatography. Student worker will also actively participate in experimental design and analysis as well as presentation of research findings through abstracts, posters, oral presentations, and peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Biomedical Engineering major preferred with GPA above 3.0. Chemistry, biology, and writing experience are considered strengths.

Application or Interview Process: Cover letter, transcript, interview

Hours per week student will work: 8-15 hours/week

Start Date: 2/1/18

Method of Compensation: Federal Work Study or Volunteer

Federal Work Study eligible students should submit application materials directly to by Friday, January 26, 2018. Other Interested students should submit materials directly to the faculty mentor.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Amy Abell

Faculty Mentor’s Department: Biology and Biomedical Engineering

Email Address:

Project Description: The Abell lab uses stem cells to define the signaling/gene expression networks controlling the conversion of stationary epithelial stem cells to motile mesenchymal cells. This epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key biological process during normal development that is reactivated in several pathologies including organ fibrosis and cancer metastasis. One goal of this research is to identify novel master regulators of EMT and the reverse process MET. This information will be used in designing new strategies for regenerative medicine and the treatment of EMT related pathologies. Projects in the lab use molecular, cellular and embryological tools to identify regulators of EMT. Student projects are dependent on previous knowledge and experience, and include tissue culture of genetically altered stem cells, isolation of RNA, preparation of cDNA, measurement of gene expression changes, isolation and separation of protein, and measurement of protein levels and activity.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Interested applicants should apply directly to Dr. Abell at Please include a resume and a paragraph about your research interests and goals. Applicants must have completed General Biology II (BIOL 1120/1121). Completion of Cell Biology (BIOL 3130) is preferred. Preference will be given to applicants interested in working at least six hours per week in the lab.

Starting Date: Anytime, positions are available for summer, fall, and spring semester research.

Method of Compensation: Volunteer, Academic Credit, or Stipend depending on level of ability and training. Two hours of academic credit up to five credit hours is possible. Academic credit is obtained through enrollment in BIOL 4000 or BIOL 4001 with permission of the faculty mentor. Each credit hour is equal to three hours of laboratory time.

 Name of the Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gary Bowlin

Faculty Mentor's Department: Biomedical Engineering

Telephone Number and Email Address: 901-678-2670 /

Project Description: Students will learn how to make acellular tissue regeneration templates to regenerate new blood vessels via electrospinning, the process of electromechanically drawing out a fiber to construct an extracellular matrix analog, as well as near field electrospinning, the process of 3D printing these fibers. Students will then explore how varying the parameters and composition of these fibers relates to their mechanical properties and biocompatibility in order to bring about tissue regeneration.

Requirements for Student Applicants:
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Skills: Willingness to work hard and learn.
Academics: Sophomore or above with a minimum GPA of 3.4

Application or Interview Process:
1. 1 page or less resume
2. Unofficial transcript
3. Conversational interview by faculty mentor and graduate student

Hours per week the student will work: 10-20

Start Date: Immediately

Methods of Compensation: Volunteer or Work Study

Federal Work Study eligible students should submit application materials directly to by Friday, January 26, 2018. Other Interested students should submit materials directly to the faculty mentor.


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Bernie Daigle, Jr.

Faculty Mentor's Department: Biological Sciences


Project Title: Identifying Prognostic Biomarkers for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Project Description: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the fifth most common psychiatric disorder, with an occurrence rate of approximately 8% in the United States. Left untreated, PTSD can be life-threatening, as it is often linked to substance abuse and severe depression. Thus, there is a pressing need to identify reliable molecular and physiological biomarkers of PTSD for the accurate diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of the disorder. The Department of Defense-funded Systems Biology of PTSD Consortium has collected blood samples and demographic/clinical data from over 200 male combat veterans with and without PTSD for the purposes of identifying these biomarkers. Recently, a subset of these veterans has been reassessed at an additional time point 1-2 years after the initial assay. The goal of this project is to use data from both the original and follow-up time points to identify candidate biomarkers for PTSD prognosis—i.e., whether or not a currently affected individual will eventually recover, and whether or not a currently unaffected individual will eventually develop PTSD. Statistical and machine learning tools will be applied to clinical and molecular data to identify candidate biomarkers predictive of a change in PTSD status or severity over time. Knowledge of these markers will contribute to an improved understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying PTSD progression and recovery.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Through the U.S. Army Research Office Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP), the Daigle Lab has funding for one student researcher to work on the above project in summer 2018. Candidates should currently be enrolled in their second or third year at the University of Memphis in a degree program within the Departments of Biological Sciences, Computer Science, or Biomedical Engineering. Desired qualifications include GPA >3.5 and some prior computer programming experience. Applicants must provide a current CV, at least one letter of recommendation, and a one page personal statement describing academic preparation, prior research experience, and future career goals. Applications must be submitted online by February 28, 2018 through the following webpage:

Starting Date and Duration: The position will begin on a mutually agreed upon date in June 2018 and continue for up to 10 weeks.

Method of Compensation: The selected student will receive $15/hour for up to 300 total hours of summer research.

Methods of Compensation: Federal Work Study or Volunteer

Federal Work Study eligible students should submit application materials directly to by Friday, January 26, 2018. Other Interested students should submit materials directly to the faculty mentor.