Coordinating Curricula and User Preferences to Increase Participation of Women & Students of Color in Engineering

Sharon Tettegah, PhD
CBSR Director

Portrait of Sharon Tettegah

For several decades, academic institutions have received financial resources to broaden participation in engineering programs. Despite these funded recruitment and retention efforts, most engineering programs have achieved little improvement in the participation of women, students of color, individuals with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups. One hypothesis to explain this discrepancy is that the low representation of women and students of color in engineering results from the lack of accessibility of engineering curricula. To test this hypothesis, this project seeks to study engineering curricula and student preferences. Based on those results, it aims to develop a set of curriculum guidelines and models that may increase the alignment between engineering curricula and students' expectations and preferences for learning. These results have the potential to broaden participation of women and students of color in engineering.

NSF funded #1826632

an Examination of the Relationship Between Identity and Academic Achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in Black Undergraduate Students at HSIs

Sharon Tettegah, PhD
CBSR Director

This multi-institutional study examines the relationship between identity and academic achievement in STEM involving Black Undergraduate Students at HSIs. We seek to determine the degree to which science identity is predictive of academic achievement. The primary objectives of the study are to determine the degree to which identity among Black undergraduate students in STEM courses is predictive of academic achievement and identify which social and personal attributes may contribute to the development of a positive identity in academically proficient students. Intersectionality will be used as a methodological lens to understand the intersections between multiple identities and STEM academic achievement.

Cellular Communication Between Bacteria, Including Mechanisms and Biology of Contact-Dependent Growth Inhibition; Epigenetic Gene Regulatory Mechanisms

David Low, PhD
CBSR Affiliated Faculty

Portrait of David Low

Low spent the first 20 years of his career studying epigenetic regulation in bacteria. His laboratory first described methylation patterns in bacteria and showed that they regulate ON/OFF gene regulatory switches that control cell surface structures such as pili. In 2004 they discovered that bacteria can inject different toxic/effector molecules into each other via a process that he calls “contact-dependent growth inhibition” or “CDI”. Low's lab has focused on studying this phenomenon for the past 15 years, partnering with Professor Chris Hayes’s laboratory. Together with the Hayes lab they have identified the pathways by which CdiA, a stick-like structure on the cell surface that mediates CDI, binds to targets, delivers toxins, and modulates cell physiology and growth. His current interest is in identifying all of the critical factors required by CDI+ cells to build the CdiB/CdiA toxin delivery device and intoxicate neighboring cells. He is also interested in leveraging our knowledge from studying CDI to developing new antimicrobials and phage therapy.

Elucidating the Molecular Mechanisms of Gamete Recognition and Subsequent Egg Activation

Kathy Foltz, PhD
CBSR Affiliated Faculty

Portrait of Kathy Foltz

Foltz' research is focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of gamete recognition and subsequent egg activation. Fertilization triggers extremely rapid and dramatic changes in the composition and architecture of protein complexes in the egg. These changes ultimately manifest in the ability of the activated egg to transition to an embryo. Many species of marine invertebrates, such as sea urchins, sea stars and ascidians, are used to address these phenomena. Both large-scale biochemical approaches (including high throughput proteomic analyses) as well as single cell (microinjection and microscopic imaging) experiments can be conducted using the large, synchronously-developing eggs of these free spawning animals, which share the basic aspects of egg activation with other species, including mammals.

Close-up of two students in a science lab