Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University
 
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Alum Success

"LSSU has a great reputation for placing students in graduate and professional schools. Many of my classmates from LSSU are now pursuing graduate and professional studies at some of the finest universities in Canada and the United States."

"The student-faculty interaction and the ability to conduct research at the undergraduate level really helped me to achieve success in a competitive graduate program. My professors at LSSU were always interested in helping us succeed."

Luke Ferra of Sault Ste. Marie graduated from LSSU in 2006 with a degree in biology and is now working toward a master's degree in epidemiology at University of Western Ontario in London. He plans to continue his studies in the medical sciences.

Luke Fera '06
Biology Major

School of Biological Sciences

Which of our quality biology programs is right for you?

Environment / Ecology

The sustainability of freshwater, marine, or terrestrial ecosystems, the management of fish and game populations, or the conservation and ecology of natural resources.

Biomedical / Laboratory Science

The health professions (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-vet, pre-pharmacy), medical laboratory science, or lab-based studies in botany, zoology, genetics, or molecular biology.

Education / Outreach

The development of public policy with regard to natural resources and the environment or teaching biology at the middle- or high-school level.

 

 

Investigat- ing the Use of QPCR: An Early Detection Method for Toxic Cyano- bacterial Bloom

Garrett Aderman

Harmful algal blooms (HABs), including cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs), are a global phenomenon. In the US, annual economic loss due to HABs was recently estimated at $82 million. Furthermore, the consensus amongst the scientific community is that the frequency and duration of CHABs in freshwater systems will increase as a result of climate change and anthropogenic nutrient enrichment. Due to the ability of some strains of CHAB genera to produce toxic compounds, larger and more sustained CHAB events will become an even greater threat to drinking water. Of all the known cyantoxoins, one of the most ubiquitous is microcystin (MCY). Humans are primarily exposed to cyantoxins through drinking water consumption and accidental ingestion of recreational water. The increasing risk presented by these toxins requires health officials and utilities to improve their ability to track the occurrence and relative toxicity. Current tracking methods do not distinguish between toxic and non-toxic strains. Biochemical techniques for analyzing the toxins are showing considerable potential as they are relatively simple to run and low cost. My goal was to develop a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method to measure the amount of mcyE gene in a Lake Erie drinking water and compare the levels of the mcyE to toxin produced. This is the first step to determining if the presence of mcyE of the mycrocystin synthestase gene cluster in Microcystits, Planktothrix and Anabaena cells can be used as the quantitative measurement in an early detection warning system for recreational and drinking waters.

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