The Biotechnology Center

The Biotechnology Center

The Biotechnology Center seeks to enhance the WKU academic environment through fostering interdisciplinary collaboration of faculty, and providing modern infrastructure, equipment, and training to its members and their students. The Center promotes successful acquisition of extramural funding and facilitates biotechnology-centered research and techniques to WKU students and faculty. The Center also supports outreach to the broader biotechnology community.

Goals & Objectives

Our ongoing goal is to continue to provide high quality student training and support our faculty members in their research objectives. We hope to be able to update some of our equipment to allow us to continue to stay competitive in the rapidly changing world of biotechnology. We would like acquire funding for a Next Generation Sequencer, a new Real Time PCR Machine and a Confocal Microscope.

Capabilities & Services

DNA sequencing, PCR, RTPCR, Gel electrophoresis, Chemiluminescent Imaging, Various centrifugation platforms, various spectrophotometric equipment, fluorometry, luminometry, Agilent Bioanalyzer, Zeiss fluorescent microscope, Leica fluorescent dissecting microscope.

Funding

Funding for the center is provided through POD (Programs of Distinction). Service contracts for equipment are provided by the Ogden College of Science and Engineering Dean’s Office.

OPPORTUNITIES TO GET INVOLVED

For Students 

Students are involved in our center when they work with a faculty member who is a member of our center. Depending on the research they are involved with, they have the opportunity to be trained in laboratory techniques and to use our equipment. This makes a big difference in their future applications for graduate or professional schools and on their resumes for future jobs.

For Faculty

Faculty who have a need for molecular biological equipment can become a member of our center.

For the Community

We give tours of our facility to high school groups to allow students to see opportunities for research should they choose to attend WKU. This has been a very effective recruiting technique as students and parents are often impressed by our facility.

Top Biotech Center Outcomes just for Fiscal Year 2016

1. 2 International presentations were given in Germany and Korea.

2. 37 students presented at national conferences in a variety of locations including California, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Virginia, Oregon and Nebraska.

3. 28 publications were accepted, authored by Biotech Center faculty members.

4. Engaged at least 45 undergraduates in direct faculty led student research projects.

5. Contributed directly to 21 graduate student thesis research projects.

6. 11 Faculty internal grants were funded.

7. 14 external grants funded to Biotech faculty members from a variety of granting agencies including NSF, NIH, USDA, KY-INBRE and others.

Know of a way this research center is making a difference? Let us know on the Submit Info tab.

Grants Funded (External)
PI Type Amount Subject
Smith, M.E. and Kevin Williams NIH R15 $414,321.00 Finding novel platinum (II) complex anti-cancer drugs with reduced ototoxicity
Smith, M.E. Kentucky INBRE (NIH) $40,000.00 Finding novel platinum (II) complex anti-cancer drugs with reduced ototoxicity
Smith, M.E. Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation, Research and Development Excellence Program Grant $30,000.00 A zebrafish assay for testing ototoxicity of anti-cancer drugs
Srivastava KBRIN $56,000.00 Functional Analysis of a Cathepsin-L in Drosophila melanogaster
Srivastava Ky-EPSCOR $7,500.00 Secondary Screen for Basement Membrane Degraders in Drosophila
Shivendra Sahi NSF $375,000.00 Nano particle synthesis
Noah Ashley NSF IOS RUI grant $965,000.00 Sleep in arctic birds
Noah Ashley KBRIN IdEA $56,000.00 Sleep loss in mice
Cheryl D Davis NIH INBRE $29,608.00 WKU Lead Faculty
Keith Philips Percy Sladen Fund $850.00 Rediscovery of an extinct dung beetle in Angola
Keith Philips NSF Epscor $15,000.00 Evolution of cave beetle genera using NGS
Keith Philips Angola Ministry of the Environment permits, vehicle and driver support, park accomodation
Meghan Parsley/Jarrett Johnson Kentucky Acad Sci $600.00 Next-gen sequencing of salamanders
Sigrid Jacobshagen NSF EPSCoR RII Track 1 $22,167.00 Powering the Kentucky Bioeconomy for a Sustainable Future
Moon-Soo Kim KBRIN $40,000.00 Engineered DNA-binding proteins as diagnostic probes for pathogen detection

Student Publications
Monroe, J.D., Rajadinakaran, G.*, and Smith, M.E. 2015. Sensory hair cell death and regeneration in fishes. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 9:131.
Qian Dong*, Breanna Brenneman*, Christopher Fields*, Ajay Srivastava Febs Letters A Cathepsin-L is required for invasive behavior during Air Sac Primordium development in Drosophila melanogaster. FEBS Lett. 2015 Sep 2. pii: S0014-5793(15)00736-X. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2015.08.036. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26341534
Noah Ashley, Audrey Brown Journal- Neuroscience Letters Year- 2016
Brooke Duke, honors thesis, “Effects of leaving ligands on prospective anticancer compounds”
Rippa Sehgal, graduate thesis, “Reaction of oxaliplatin derivatives with nucleotides”
Levis, N. A, M. Schooler, J. R. Johnson, and M. L. Collyer. 2016. Non-adaptive phenotypic plasticity: the effects of terrestrial and aquatic herbicides on larval salamander morphology and swim speed. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society. In press
Levis, N. A. and J. R. Johnson. 2015. Level of UV-B radiation influences the effects of glyphosate-based herbicide on fitness of the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). Ecotoxicology 24: 1074-1086.
Ha, D. T., Chakraborty, A., Sthitodhi, G., Ahn, C. H., and Kim, M-S. (2015) Detection of double-stranded DNA of E. coli O157:H7 using Zinc Finger Proteins immobilized on polymer chip. Paper (No. A150300680) in Proceedings of MicroTAS 2015 Symposium, Korea, October 25-29.

Student Presentations
Heine, M.*, Billings, T.*, Monroe, J.D., Smith, M.E. 2015. Effects of cisplatin, phenanthriplatin, and pyriplatin on hearing and inner ear hair cells of zebrafish (Danio rerio). 101st Annual Kentucky Academy of Sciences Meeting, Northern Kentucky University, KY, Physiology and Biochemistry Session.
King, S.E.*, Fehrenbach, A.K.*, Johnson, J.R., Smith, M.E. 2015. Sound-induced hearing loss and recovery in the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum). International Bioacoustics Congress, Murnau, Bavaria, Germany.
King, S.E.*, Fehrenbach, A.K.*, Johnson, J.R., Smith, M.E. 2015. Functional recovery of axolotl hearing following sound exposure. WKU Student Research Conference, Bowling Green, KY. Best poster award.
Rogers, B.*, Smith, M.E. 2015. Hearing and a potentially novel peripheral auditory structure in Semaprochilodus insignis. WKU Student Research Conference, Bowling Green, KY.
Hodzic, D.*, Smith, M.E. 2015. The role of melanin in auditory function of zebrafish (Danio rerio). WKU Student Research Conference, Bowling Green, KY. Best poster award.
Fehrenbach, A.K.*, King, S.E.*, Johnson, J.R., Smith, M.E. 2105. Hearing and effects of sound exposure on the axolotl (Amystoma mexicanum). WKU Student Research Conference, Bowling Green, KY. Oral presentation.
Weller, K.K.*, Godinho, A.L., Smith, M.E. 2015. Sound production in three prochilodontid fish species from Brazil. WKU Student Research Conference, Bowling Green, KY.
July 2016: Poster to be presented at the 2016 The Allied Genetics Conference, Orlando, FL titled: Regulation of Air Sac Primordium Development by a Cathepsin-L in Drosophila melanogaster. Christopher Fields*, Qian Dong*, Breanna Brenneman*, Ajay Srivastava
June 2016: Poster to be presented at the 2016 The Allied Genetics Conference, Orlando, FL titled: Altering expression of JAK/STAT pathway components in air sac primordia of Drosophila melanogaster. Nathan Powers*, Ajay Srivastava
June 2016: Poster to be presented at the 2016 NISBRE Conference, Washington, D.C. titled:Functional and expression analysis of a putative basement membrane degrader in Drosophila melanogaster. Christopher Fields*, Qian Dong*, Ajay Srivastava
April 2016:Talk presented at the WKU REACH conference titled: Identification of Collagen IV Associated Proteins from Third Larval Instar using Drosophila Genetics and Mass Spectrometry. Mayank Kapadia*, Ajay Srivastava
April 2016:Talk presented at the WKU REACH conference titled: Altering expression of JAK/STAT pathway components in air sac primordia of Drosophila melanogaster. Nathan Powers*, Ajay Srivastava
April 2016:Poster presented at the WKU REACH conference titled: An Immunohistochemical Screen for Genes Expressed in the Air Sac Primordium in Drosophila . Joy Fan*, Ajay Srivastava
November 2015:Talk presented at 101st Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Science titled: Functional and expression analysis of a putative basement membrane degrader in Drosophila melanogaster. Christopher Fields*, Qian Dong*, Elizabeth Oates*, Ajay Srivastava
November 2015:Poster presented at 2015 Southeast Regional IDeA Meeting titled: Regulation of Air sac Primordium Development by a Cathepsin L in Drosophila melanogaster. Ajay Srivastava, Qian Dong*, Breanna Brenneman*, Christopher Fields*
October 2015:Poster presented at 8th Annual WKU BSURE Symposium titled: Investigating JAK/STAT Pathway Involvement in the Development of Air Sacs of Drosophila melanogaster. Nathan Powers* and Ajay Srivastava
October 2015:Poster presented at 8th Annual WKU BSURE Symposium titled: An Immunohistochemical Screen for Genes Expressed in the Air Sac Primordium in Drosophila. Joy Fan* and Ajay Srivastava
1 UG presentation at M-d-west ASPB
Laken Cooper Society of Integrative & Comparative Biology
Audrey Brown WKU student research conference
Amber Bishop WKU student research conference
Laken Cooper WKU student research conference
Brooke Duke, ACS national meeting, “Effects of leaving ligands on prospective anticancer compounds”
Brooke Duke, KAS, “Effects of leaving ligands on prospective anticancer compounds”
Alexandra Wright, ACS national meeting, “Partial displacement of a triamine ligand from platinum (II) by guanosine 5′-monophosphate”
Cox, K., A. Smith, and C.D. Davis. Serologic surveillance for canine Chagas disease in Central and Eastern Kentucky. Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Society of Parasitologists. April 9-11, 2015. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia.
Davis, C.D., S.M. Jones, E. Main, D. Garrett-Wright, T. Holaday, and S. House. Ascariasis and enterobiasis in a rural Kentucky farming community. Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Society of Parasitologists. April 9-11, 2015. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia.
Wielgus, K.M., B.J. Wielgus, C. Dick, and C.D. Davis. Compared prevalence of Baylisascaris procyonis in raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Kentucky. Annual Meeting of the American Society of Parasitologists, Omaha, Nebraska, June 24-June 29, 2015.
2014. Entomology Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland OR. Genetic diversity in the genus Darlingtonea: phylogeography and species limits. Olivia F. Boyd* and T. Keith Philips.
2014. Entomology Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland OR. New species of Pseudanophthalmus from Western Kentucky Caves. Olivia F. Boyd* and T. Keith Philips.
2014 11th Annual Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference (SEEC), Statesboro, GA. Characterization of West Central African dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) fauna and their vulnerability to human activity. (Poster), 2nd Place Best Graduate Student Poster. Christie A. Sukhdeo*, T. Keith Philips, and Nicola M. Anthony
King, E., A. K. Fehrenbach, J. R. Johnson, M. E. Smith. Functional recovery of axolotl hearing following sound exposure. Student Research Conference, Western Kentucky University. 28 March 2015.
Anderson, K and JR Johnson. Effects of strip mining on salamander populations. Student Research Conference WKU. April 2016
Johnson, JL and JR Johnson. Effects of glyphosate herbicides on growth and survival of salamander larvae. Student Research Conference WKU. April 2016.
Anderson, K and JR Johnson. Effects of strip mining on salamander populations. Joint Meetings of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. New Orleans, LA July 2016
Johnson, JL and JR Johnson. Effects of glyphosate herbicides on growth and survival of salamander larvae. Joint Meetings of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. New Orleans, LA July 2016
Nicole Williams: Expression Of Cellulose-digesting Enzymes In Chlamydomonas, 2016 WKU Student Conference, April 2, 2016, Bowling Green, KY
Connor Brown: Circadian Rhythms Of Gene Expression In Chlamydomonas, 2016 WKU Student Conference, April 2, 2016, Bowling Green, KY
Anu Kini Oral presentation in Physiology and Biochemistry section, KAS
Kim. J., and Kim, M-S. (2015) Multiplexed detection of pathogenic DNA using zinc finger proteins without amplification. 2015 KAS (Kentucky Academy of Science), Northern Kentucky University
Kini, A. G., and Kim, M-S. (2015) Detection of DNA methylation using zinc finger proteins. 2015 KAS (Kentucky Academy of Science), Northern Kentucky University, KY
Ha, D. T., Kim, J., Chakraborty, A., Ahn, Chong, H., and Kim, M-S. (2015) A novel protein array for direct detection of double-stranded DNA sequences for diagnostic applications. 2015 American Chemical Society, Boston, MA
Kini, A. G., and Kim, M-S. (2015) Engineered Zinc Finger Proteins: A diagnostic tool for methylated DNA. 2016 ACS. San Diego, CA
Ha, D. T., Chakraborty, A., Ghosh, S., Ahn, Chong, H., and Kim, M-S. (2015) Direct detection of double-stranded DNA of E. coli O157:H7 using Zinc Finger Proteins immobilized on polymer chip. MicroTAS 2015, Seoul, KoreaTo submit an Outcome or Publication, use the Submit Info tab.

For more information about the The Biotechnology Center, visit https://www.wku.edu/biotechnology/

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