Undergraduate Research

Dlugosch Lab, University of Arizona

We love to involve undergraduates in our lab’s research, and we frequently develop independent projects with students that are excited by the work that we do. Interested students should contact Dr. Dlugosch or any of the people in the lab whose research particularly captures your enthusiasm.

We gladly accept students under the following arrangements:
1) Course credit (Independent Study or Directed Research, including Honors). This requires a specific time commitment for the number of credit hours received. This is the most common way that students join the lab.
2) Internships from Pima CC or other programs. We have had several great Pima interns, and we encourage inquiries from students looking to fulfill formal internship programs.
3) Pay. We do have occasional openings for student employment, including through the UA UBRP program, and we are often looking for folks with Federal Work Study (FWS) aid. We typically advertise open positions to the Biology undergraduate list, but we especially encourage UBRP and FWS students interested in our research to get in touch with us.
4) Volunteering opportunities in the lab are more limited. We prefer to make a more formal commitment through course credit, so that both the student and mentors in our lab get the most out of the experience.

Recent Examples of Undergraduate Research

2017 Posters

Joseph Aspinwall & Ashley Davis

Advised by: Angela Kaczowka, Pat Lu-Irving, David Baltrus, Katrina Dlugosch

Summary: Yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) is an annual plant species native to regions of Eurasia that was introduced to the Americas and has become invasive in grassland regions of the United States. In regions of infestation, it lowers forage yield, disrupts livestock grazing and reduces economic value.
Invading plants may be benefiting from escape from pathogens and have evolved greater investment in growth and reproduction. The “oxidative burst” is one of the main responses to pathogen infections and can reveal evolution in plant-pathogen interactions. Peroxidase is a crucial part of ROS production in the oxidative burst. Using a high throughput peroxidase assay, we test for evolution of the immune response to bacteria in native and invading populations.

Photo credit: Shana Welles

Jake Wilke

Advised by: Shana Welles, Pat Lu-Irving, Katrina Dlugosch

Summary: Yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis, Asteraceae) is a native
species of Eurasia that was introduced to western North America in the 1800s, where the population has grown to high abundance. The goal of this research was to independently assemble the genome of a native individual from Turkey and an invasive individual from California.

Photo credit: Shana Welles

Joseph Black

Advised by Joseph Braasch, Katrina Dlugosch

Summary: Habitat disturbance often creates favorable conditions for invasive plants. Erodium cicutarium, a non-native species in the Sonoran Desert, has become increasingly common in long term study plots and is abundant in grazed rangelands. Erodium cicutarium shown to have a higher relative growth rate and to out-compete its native congener Erodium texanum in a common garden. At Tumamoc Reserve, E. cicutarium appears to be more abundant in disturbed areas, while E. texanum appears to be more abundant in undisturbed areas. We hypothesize that Erodium cicutarium (Non-native) will have a higher growth rate and produce more fruit in disturbed habitat, and Erodium texanum (Native) will have a higher growth rate and produce more fruit in undisturbed habitat.