Biology

Senior Theses

All seniors at Reed College must complete a year-long thesis project as a part of their final academic year. For Biology students, the senior thesis offers an opportunity to fully engage a research question with the assistance of a faculty advisor. The diversity of topics and questions pursued by Biology seniors spans the breadth of the biological sciences. All students must identify a focused problem within their area of interest and then design experiments, collect and analyze data, and provide both a written document and oral defense of the finished thesis.

The range of research topics engaged in by Biology seniors can be seen below in the list of thesis titles from our most recent group of seniors. Thesis titles are listed in alphabetical order by the senior's last name. The abstract for a thesis can be viewed by clicking on the Abstract link (if provided). The faculty member advising each student is listed with the abstract, and includes a link to his/her home page.

Thesis Research Support

The Biology Department has available a number of sources of financial support for thesis research. While modest projects are sometimes supported from regular Department funds, many of our Seniors find support for their expenses from research grants to their faculty thesis advisor or from institutional grants from foundations like HHMI and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. Research funds from institutional grants are awarded on a competitive basis to seniors who prepare a written proposal in support of their request. These foundation grants have provided critical support, allowing Reed seniors to develop research projects that are more ambitious and sophisticated than might otherwise be possible. In addition to developing critical research skills, the seniors learn the important process of supporting their research through the development of written research proposals. Senior theses listed below (or on the links above for earlier years) that were supported by such grants are designated with a label in blue.

You may be wondering just how many Biology and BMB majors we graduate each year. We wondered that as well, so in 1996 we began weighing the graduating class to determine the official "biomass" of the Department's seniors. We can now quantitatively answer the question of how many seniors we graduate, with our answer given in units of metric tons. You can see the results at the BIOMASS homepage.

2015 Senior Thesis Titles

(CLASS OF 2015: If your thesis abstract is not currently included on this page and you would like it to be, please follow this link.)

  • The effects of mouthbrooding on brood size, growth, and mobile behaviors in Astatotilapia burtoni by Emily Craig Agan

  • Climate change and the forests of the Pacific Northwest by Alejandro Anasal

  • A comparison of genome-guided and de novo RNA-seq analysis for non-genomic model organisms: A test case in cichlid fish by Melissa Yokoe Ashbaugh

  • Bad mothers make for bad neighbors: The intersection of social and maternal behaviors in mouth-brooding Astatotilapia burtoni by Christina Lord Barrett

  • The discovery of a new flavonoid regulating MYB in Delphinium nuttallii and Delphinium leucophaeum by Conrad James Barry

  • Effect of retinal ganglion cell input on growth in the Zebrafish optic tectum by Reid Pearl Bondurant

  • NMDARs as potential regulators of the Xenopus laevis vocal circuit by Alexandra Kate Bray  - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Sublethal effects of a common herbicide, Atrazine, on amphibian (Bombina orientalis) growth and development under environmentally relevant conditions by Claire Diane Brumbaugh-Smith

  • Effects of collagen 15a 1b knockdown on stem cell behavior in the ciliary marginal zone by Alison Elizabeth Bryant - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Testing Drosophilia self-medication using ethanol against parasitoid wasp infection by Robin Alexis Byron - Abstract

  • The role of Hfq in the reduction of virulence in EPEC by Zinc by Margaret Elaine Cheney

  • The role of chemical signals in the establishment of a cycad-cyanobacterial symbiosis by Hannah Laurel Youngsun Choi

  • Exploring the effects of siRNA induced knockdown of CPSF73 on CCND1 splicing by Matthew Putnam Durant

  • Biofertilizer potential of Oregon cyanbacterial strains by Adriana Taline Escobedo-Land - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Cellular energy allocation and phenotypic response to hypoxia in the aquatic crustacean Daphnia magma by Rachel Giulia Fox - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Investigation of a method to identify the mechanism of PerC's action on Ler by Jonathan Graham Gerhart

  • Genome size variation and transposable element proliferation in three lines of Capsicum annuum (Solanaceae) by Kathryn Hunter Halloran

  • Trypanosomatids in Drosophila and the effects of infection on adult fly fitness by Ivy Ellen Hellickson

  • Watch and learn: Transitive inference and female mate choice in a species of African cichlid fish by Emmeline Sophie Hill - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Retinoic acid signaling and retinal ganglion cell neurogenesis in the developing Zebrafish by Wilson Hunter Horner - Abstract - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • The 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic: A synthetic review of the history, biology, and public health consequences of Ebola in West Africa by Jolie Dava Kaner

  • Post-translational modifications of a-tubulin by Agnes Kim

  • Patterns of genome dominance, gene loss, and silencing in the Allotetraploid soybean Glycine dolichocarpa by Maxwell Thomas Peter Koenig

  • Where the wild things are: Diversity and distribution of small mammals in the Reed College Canyon by Jacob Benjamin Kraus

  • Dose-dependence of off-target effects of antimalarials in the Xenopus laevis vocal central pattern generator by Alexandria Bryn Mariani - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Zinc as an antibacterial agent by Jennilyn Marie Seton Nelson

  • Regulation of sexually differentiated vocal behavior via androgen receptor expression in the CNS of the South African clawed frog Xenopus laevis by Ha V. Nguyen - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Whole-transcriptome analysis of the PerC regulon identifies novel niche-adaptive mechanisms in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli by Jossef Fleck Osborn - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Cyclical feelings: Effects of Continuous hormonal contraception on stress behavior and circulating hormones in a mouse model by Elizabeth Ann Pekarskaya - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Structural characteristics of the PinX1 telomerase inhibitory domain by Richard Harvey Posert - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Is there interaction between xPinx1 and xTERT in the Xenopus laevis shelterin complex? By James Emiliano Reed

  • Relative expression of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae acetyltransferase genes ATF1 and ATF2 predict the profile of select acetate esters in fermented products by Sarah Jennifer Resnick

  • Effects of invasive English ivy (Hedera helix) on soil microflora by Jacob Merritt Robertson - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Neuropeptide activity in sex-role conventional and sex-role reversed Julidochromis by Christine Rose Schmidt - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Rethinking transposon dynamics of the germline and soma: from transposition to silencing by Michael Joon Song

  • The evolution of predation-induced plastic responses in Bombina orientalis tadpoles by Audrey Ellen Spaeth

  • Investigating large conductance calcium-activated potassium channel contribution to neural rhythemogenesis in the vocal central pattern generator by Jason Tyler Swinderman - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • The effects of the anti-malarial drug Mefloquine on NMDA receptors in the vocal central pattern generator of Xenopus laevis by Aashis Thapa - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)

  • Altering Ler linker hydrophobicity diminishes regulatory activity by Jules Bailey Weinstein - Abstract - (This study was funded in part by a grant from the Reed College Biology Undergraduate Research Program)