Biology Research Course - BIO481

If you are interested in taking BIO481 in the Fall/Winter 2023/2024, you must secure a supervisor ahead of time. If you have any questions, please email Stephanie do Rego

Interested in a 4th year research course in Biology? Students in BIO481 earn a full credit while working on their own project in a Biology faculty member's lab. Students prepare a thesis on their work and present it at our Symposium in April.

Interested students should contact Biology faculty members in the winter or spring prior to enrolling in the course. An approved supervisor is required in order to take this course. If you are still searching for a supervisor when 4th year student enrollment begins, it is recommended that you enroll in back up courses in the event that you are not able to take BIO481.

Fall/Winter 2023-2024

Students interested in BIO481 for the Fall/Winter 2023-2024 must submit an application. Priority will be given to students in a Biology program beginning on July 24, 2023, additional students will be granted a spot on a first come basis starting on August 4. Applications are to be submitted to Stephanie do Rego ( Once the details in the application are verified, the department will enroll the student into the course on Acorn. Students no longer have the ability to enroll in BIO481 on Acorn. Spaces are limited. The absolute last date to submit an application is September 15, 2023.

Fall 2023 Application Form

Questions about these courses? Contact


BIO481 Best Presentation Award Winners

April 10:

  • Winner: Celina Javier & Veronica Venditti (Gerlai Lab: Appetitive associative learning & memory: A new fish model in behavioral neuroscience with Mikrogeophagus ramirezi         
  • Runner Up: Valentyn Sobolenko (Liu Lab): Mapping how the Optokinetic Reflex is Differentially Responsive to Motion that is in Different Areas of Visual Space
  • Runner Up: Melody Yazdani (Murray Lab): Effects of Latitudinal Variation and Urbanization in Monarch Butterfly Larvae (D. plexippus)

  April 11:

  • Winner: Sona Tissington (McMillen Lab): Saccharomyces cerevisiae Kit Deployment for Local Testing of Viral Disease
  • Runner Up: Samantha Bestavros (Nguyen Ba Lab): Variant effect mapping through protein folding and stability
  • Runner Up: Alexis Konopny (Ratcliffe Lab): Habitat-specific differences in relative bat species’ abundance on UTM campus and beyond
  • Runner Up: Daniela Cobo (Gunning Lab): Targeting protein degradation of ɑ-tubulin and β-tubulin by utilizing small molecule inhibitors

April 7:
  • Ahmed Aldarraji (Erclik Lab): Investigating the neuronal diversity within the Vsx & Ey Window
  • Mustafa Khekani (Nguyen Ba Lab): A Robust, Rapid, and Sequencing-Based Competition Assay that Utilizes Chromosomal Barcoding of E. coli
  • Rachel Stubits (Runner up) (Dillon Lab): Pangenome Insights into the Epidemiology and Virulence of Global Xanthomonas Outbreaks
  April 8:
  • Sarah Yoshimi Tropp (Phillips Lab): Cloning and Expression of Kolavenyl Diphosphate Synthase (KDS) from Diviner’s Sage (Salvia divinorum) in a heterologous host
  • Scott Ford (Ness Lab): A new method to characterize the diversity of microalgae
  • Stella Begovich (Stewart Lab): RNAi based gene silencing of 14-3-3 zeta and Lasp affects size of neuromuscular junction in Drosophila melanogaster

  • Haya Habib, Erclik Lab: Long range temporal patterning of neurogenesis in the Drosophila visual system
  • Joshua Hung, Dillon Lab, Pangenome Analysis of Xanthonomas Outbreaks
Runner up:
  • Riya Philip, Lange Lab, The Effect of Gonadulin on Rhodnius Prolixus Reproduction
  • Stephanie Shishis, Gerlai Lab, The Effect of Housing Density and Tank Size on the Behaviour of Adult Zebrafish: A Systemic Analysis


Symposium canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic

2019 Summer
Best Presentation: Kevin Hoang (Ensminger Lab)
Best Paper: Kevin Hoang (Ensminger Lab)
Growth performance and chlorophyll fluorescence in response to parental origins in white spruce (Picea glauca) seedlings
March 29, 2019 Symposium
Winner: Samuel Fung (Cheng Lab)
  • Sox2 ablation in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus perturbs anxio-depressive behaviours in mice.
Winner: Ravneet Jaura (Rhee Lab)
  • Understanding the Role of Intergenic DNA Region of Hb9 Gene during Spinal Motor Neuron Differentiation
Runner up: Jenna Black (Short Lab)
  • The Dynamics of Viruses and Virophages that Infect C. parva, a Freshwater Algae
Runner up: Esther Jung (Shin Lab)
  • Increasing stringency of ME47 by reducing gIII expression in vitro
April 5, 2019 Symposium
Winner: Anuj Kaushal (Stewart Lab)
  • Determining Genetic Interactions with NSF in Drosophila melanogaster
Winner: Agatha Tymczak (Kanelis Lab)
  • Spectroscopically characterizing the regulatory region of yeast cadmium factor 1
Runner up: Zaleena Akheralie (Erclik Lab)
  • Characterizing Embryonic Optic Neuroblasts in the Developing Drosophila melanogaster Brain

  • Winner: Fahad Farooq (Wagner Lab)
    • Project title – The differential effect of pollination and seed dispersal on genetic diversity of a common tropical plant, Heliconia tortusoa
  • Runner up: Erika Frangione (Stefanovic Lab)
    • Project title – Plastid Genome Sequence Assembly and Annotation of a Parasitic Plant Species Cuscuta Africana
  • Runner up: Mahnoor Ayub (Lange Lab)
    • Project title – Investigating the role of SIFamide in feeding behavior of the blood-sucking bug, Rhodnius prolixus

Winner: Nikhil George (Short Lab)
Runner up: Jason Tang (Espie Lab)

  • Winners: Paul Penkul (Milstein Lab) and David Przelicki (Cheng Lab)
  • Runner up: Amara Rasool (Levine Lab)