Undergraduate Research in Microbiology

Polar research
 Bacterial attacking cell
 Fluorescent viruses
 Fraction collection
Column chromatography
Graduate student research
Graduate student research
 Culture plates
Undergraduate researcher

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Undergraduate researcher Maeva Metz and Astronaut Al Worden

Maeva Metz is the recipient of an Astronaut Foundation Scholarship   A junior microbiology major and molecular biology minor, Maeva is one of 38 students nationwide to receive the scholarship, among the most significant merit-based scholarships awarded to undergraduate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) college students.

Get the most out of your undergraduate microbiology training by getting involved in undergraduate research. Many Miami undergrads participate in research programs in Microbiology. Contact our faculty with research programs that interest you to explore the possibilities.


Development of a research proposal can help you focus your efforts and provide a roadmap for getting results. Check out some of the undergraduate grant opportunities that are available to help support your research.

Persistence pays!

These are some of the recent accomplishments and recognitions received by our undergraduate researchers.

Undergraduate publications

  • Feng M, Schaff AC, Cuadra Aruguete SA, Riggs HE, Distelhorst SL, Balish MF. (2018) Development of Mycoplasma pneumoniae biofilms in vitro and the limited role of motility. Int. J. Med. Microbiol. 308:324-334.
  • Ohneck EJ, Arivett BA, Fiester SE, Wood CR, Metz ML, Simeone GM, Actis LA. (2018) Mucin acts as a nutrient source and a signal for the differential expression of genes coding for cellular processes and virulence factors in Acinetobacter baumannii. PLoS ONE 13:e0190599.
  • Shang H, Garretson TA, Kumar CMS, Dieter RF, Cheng XW. (2017) Improved pFastBacTM donor plasmid vectors for higher protein production using the Bac-to-Bac® baculovirus expression vector system. J. Biotechnol. 255:37-46.
  • Fiester SE, Arivett BA, Schmidt RE, Beckett AC, Ticak T, Carrier MV, Ghosh R, Ohneck EJ, Metz ML, Sellin Jeffries MK, Actis LA. (2016) Iron-regulated phospholipase C activity contributes to the cytolytic activity and virulence of Acinetobacter baumannii. PLoS One 11:e0167068.
  • Garretson TA, McCoy JC, Cheng XW. (2016) Baculovirus FP25K localization: role of the coiled-coil domain. J. Virol. 90:9582-9597.
  • Springer TI, Emerson CC, Johns CW, Finley NL. (2016) Interaction with adenylate cyclase toxin from Bordetella pertussis affects the metal binding properties of calmodulin. FEBS Open Bio 9:25-34.
  • Beck HJ, Fleming IM, Janssen GR. (2016) 5’-terminal AUGs in Escherichia coli mRNAs with Shine-Dalgarno sequences: identification and analysis of their roles in non-canonical translation initiation. PLoS ONE 11:e0160144.

Undergraduate grants and awards

Undergraduate Research Awards - Spring 2018

  • Emily Konrad and Andrew Allison, "Optimization of Protocol for Fluorescent Staining of Chlamydia”, Joseph Carlin

University Summer Scholars - Summer 2019

  • Isaiah Jacques, "Physiological characterization of a high-salt evolved Chlamydomonas reinhardtii", Rachael Morgan-Kiss
  • Justin Klatt, Synthetic Electron Transport Chain for Enhanced Energy Harvesting", Xin Wang
  • Justin Moon, "Immunohistochemical Localization of  SLAMF9", Timothy Wilson
  • Maegan Murphy, "Molecular Interactions of FCRL1 in B Cell Activation", Timothy Wilson
  • Liliana Scarlato, "Effects of Chlamydia on Ceramide-Induced Cytotoxicity", Joseph Carlin

Howard Hughes Summer Internships - Summer 2019

  • Monocayo Chloe, "Minimal Microbial Communities in Oil Degradation", Annette Bollmann
  • Susanna D'Silva, "Acclimation of an Antarctic Alga to Environmental Stress; Role of Cyclic Electron", Rachael Morgan-Kiss
  • Sarah Soppe, "Identifying Human Gut Microbes Capable of Degrading Quaternary Amines", D.J. Ferguson

Undergraduate Research Awards - Fall 2017

  • Peter Brechting, "Examination of Proposed Key Enzymes Involved in Methanogenesis with Quaternary Amines.", D.J. Ferguson

Orton K. Stark Awardees - 2017-2018

The Orton K. Stark Award is given "in Recognition of Academic Achievement of the Highest Order and Efforts and Talents Reflecting the Learning Traditions of the Department of Microbiology." Recent recipients include:


  • Ashlyn Anderson
  • Conor Dolson


  • Jana M. Cable
  • Clairissa A. Hansen
  • Rebecca L. Wyma

Exploring µBiology

Applying Classroom Learning to Real World Problems in the Lab

Dr. Rachael Morgan-Kiss, Associate Professor of Microbiology, talks about the various benefits of undergraduate research.

Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics

Dr. Luis Actis, Professor of Microbiology, describes the Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics, and how students can use computer technology to analyze biological data, such as DNA or protein sequences.

Student Research in the CBFG

Microbiology students describe the research they do at Miami University's Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics.

Hands-on Inquiry-based Learning for First-Year Students

Microbiology faculty and students talk about their participation in a national experiment (MBI 223/224) to determine and understand the genetic content of viruses infecting bacteria.

Adaptation in Extreme Environments

Dr. Rachael Morgan-Kiss (Microbiology) talks about the importance of studying organisms in extreme environments.

Everyday Tasks for a Young Scientist

Microbiology student Nicholas Ketchum talks about the opportunity to work in Antarctica as part of his undergraduate research.

Algal Resistance to Environmental Stress

Microbiology student Alex Loomis talks about his undergraduate research.