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Applying medication to a jaguar

Project Descriptions

The links below describe previous research sites.  New research sites are currently being developed and previous research sites are subject to change based on mentor availability.   

BRAZIL: Belem • Curitiba • Florianopolis • Sao Paulo

UGANDA: PallisaGulu



One laboratory, 2 student positions available

Project description: Basic research on visual psychophysics. The research will involve visual testing of people. The tests will consist of contrast sensitivity and visual evoked potentials.

2009 Project Title: Amplitude of P100 Visual Evoked Cortical Potential (VECP) as Function of Achromatic Contrast Stimulus in Glaucomatous Patients.

2008 Project Title: Influence of Luminance Contrast in the Amplitude of Multifocal Visual Evoked Potentials

Site mentor: Dr. Luiz Carlos de Lima Silveira

Recent mentor publications:

  • Silveira, L.C.L.; Souza, G. S.; Gomes, B. D.; Lacerda, E.M.C.B.; Saito, C.A.; Da Silva Filho, M.   Amplitude of the transient visual evoked potential (tVEP) as a function of achromatic and chromatic contrast: contribution of different visual pathways. Visual Neuroscience, v. 25, p. 317-325, 2008.
  • Silveira, L.C.L.; Finlay, B. L.; Franco, E. C. S.; Yamada, E. S.; Crowley, J. C.; Parsons, M. P.; Muniz, J. A. P. C. Number and topography of cones, rods and optic nerve axons in New and Old World primates. Visual Neuroscience, v. 25, p. 289-299, 2008. 
  • Silveira, L.C.L.; Gomes, B. D.; Souza, G. S.; Lima, M. G.; Rodrigues, A. R.; Saito, C. A.; Da Silva Filho, M. Color discrimination ellipses of trichromats measured with transient and steady-state visual evoked potentials. Visual Neuroscience, v. 25, p. 333-339, 2008.

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One laboratory, 2 student positions available (Preferably 1 graduate/medical student)

Project description: Clinical, biological and molecular aspects of childhood adrenocortical tumors: relationship between therapeutic response and prognosis. Development of a wide range screening tool to identify adenocarcinoma in newborn infants. Techniques used in this research clinical database analysis, Western blots, and molecular biology techniques.

2008 Project Title: DNA Extraction from Paraffin Embedded and Frozen Adrenocortical Tumors.

Site mentor: Dr. Bonald C. Figueiredo, Department of Pediatrics and Chemistry, Clinical Director of Pediatric Oncology, Universidade Federal do Parana

Recent mentor publications:

  • West, N.A.; Ribeiro, R.C.; Jenkins, J.; Rodriguez-Galindo, C.; Figueiredo, B.C.; Kriwacki, R.; Zambetti G.P. Identification of a Novel Germline Variant Hot Spot Mutant p53-R175L in Pediatric Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma. Cancer Res. 2006 May 15;66(10):5056-5062.
  • Pianovski, M.A.D.; Cavalli, L.R.; Figueiredo, B.C.; Haddad, B.R.; Zambetti, G.P.; Ribeiro, R.C.; Lalli, E. SF-1 Overexpression in Childhood Adrenocortical Tumors. Eur J Cancer. 2006 May;42(8):1040-1043.
  • Zancanella, P.; Pianovski, M.A.D.;  Oliveira, B.H.; Ferman, S.; Custodio, G.; Lichtvan, L.C.I.; Voss, S.Z.; Stinghen, S.T.; Callefe, L.G.; Parise, G.A.; Santana, M.H.A.; Figueiredo, B.C. Mitotane Associated With Cisplatin, Etoposide and Doxorubicin in Advanced Childhood Adrenocortical Carcinoma: Mitotane Monitoring and Tumor Regression. (2006), Journal of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. 2006;28(8):513-24.

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Three laboratories, 1 student per laboratory


Project description: Basic research on anxiety and memory acquisition. Use of neuropharmacology to investigate anxiety and memory.

2008 Project Title: The Efficacy of Prazosin in Contextual Fear Conditioning in Rats

Mentor: Dr. Antonio Pauda Carobrez, Department of Pharmacology, University of Santa Catarina, Santa Catarina Island

Recent mentor publications:

  • Martins, M.; Carobrez, A.; Tonussi, C. 2008. Activation of dorsal periaqueductal gray by glycine produces long lasting hyponociception in rats without overt defensive behaviors Life Sciences., v.83, 118-121.
  • Stern, C.; Aparecida J.; Carobrez, A. P.; Bertoglio, L. J. 2008. Aversive learning as a mechanism for lack of repeated anxiolytic-like effect in the elevated plus maze. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior., v.90, 545-550.
  • Hackl, L.; Pereira N.; Carobrez, A. P.. 2007. Distinct ventral and dorsal hippocampus AP5 anxiolytic effects revealed in the elevated plus-maze task in rats. Neurobiology of Learning and   Memory, v.88, 177-185.


Project description: Aquatic environmental science: Expression of heat shock proteins in aquatic invertebrates as an environmental pollution indicator. Using heat shock protein expression in either bivalves or shrimp as a bioindicator of environmental pollution. Techniques used, Western blots of tissue obtained from shrimp or bivalues that have been exposed to heavy metals.

2008 Project Title: Comparing the Amplification of Housekeeping Genes in Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannmei) DNA of previously extracted samples with their corresponding samples stored in FTA® Cards

Mentor: Dr. Maria Risoletta Marques, Department of Biochemistry, University of Santa Catarina, Santa Catarina Island

Recent mentor publications:

  • Franco, J. L.; Posser, T.; Trevisan, R.; Carvalho, P. S. M.; Leal, R. B. A.; Marques, M. R. F.; Bainy, A. C. D.; Dafre, A. L. Biochemical alterations in juvenile carp (Cyprinus carpio) exposed to Zinc: Glutathione Reductase as a Target. Marine Environmental Research, v. 66, p. 10.1016/j.maren, 2008.
  • Medeiros, I. D.; Seibert, M. N;; Toledo-Silva, G.; Marques, M. R. F.; Bainy, A. C. D. Differential gene expression in oyster exposed to sewage. Marine Environmental Research, v. 66, p. 10.1016/j.maren, 2008.
  • Luchmann, K.H.; Freire, A.S.; Ferreira, N.C.; Daura-Jorge, F.G.; Marques, M. R. F. Spatial and temporal variations in abundance and biomass of penaeid shrimps in the subtropical Conceição Lagoon, southern Brazil. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, v. 88, p. 293-299, 2008.


Project description: The elucidation of the role of the recently reported peripheral venous serotonergic system in the control of reactivity in veins. By using the classical pharmacological approach of isolated organ bath for tension recordings, associated with biochemical and molecular techniques, the research will test the hypothesis that the ability of peripheral veins to synthesize, uptake and metabolize serotonin controls venous reactivity locally. The investigation of the putative impact of the venous serotonergic system in pathological states such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, sepsis, and erectile dysfunction is also part of the present goal in order to offer clues toward explaining abnormal function in these diseases

2011 Project: Understanding the physiology and pharmacology of vascular smooth muscle, with particular emphasis in the venous system

Mentor: Dr. Aurea Elizabeth Linder, Department of Pharmacology, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

Recent mentor publications:

  • Linder, AE; GASKELL, GL; SZASZ, T; THOMPSON, JM and WATTS, SW: Serotonin receptors in rat jugular vein. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 334:116-123, 2010
  • Linder, AE; BEGGS, KM; BURNETT, R. and WATTS, SW. Body distribution of infused serotonin in rats. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology 36: 599-601, 2009.
  • Linder, AE; DORRANCE, AM; MILLS, TM; WEBB, RC and LEITE, R. Erectile function in two-kidney, one-clip hypertensive rats is maintained by a potential increase in nitric oxide production. Journal of Sexual Medicine 6 (suppl 3):279-285, 2009.

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Four laboratories, 1 student per laboratory


Project description: Basic research on neuroanatomy of the visual system. Research focuses on expression of glutamate receptors, particularly the AMPA types in rodent and avian brains. Techniques used are small animal surgery, immunocytochemistry, microscopy and in situ hybridization.

2008 Project Title: Mapping of the 5-HT2A Receptor in the Edinger-Westphal Region of the Pigeon (Columbia livia): AnImmunohistochemical Study

Mentor: Dr. Claudio Toledo

Recent mentor publications:

  • Cunha, R.P.; Reiner, A. & Toledo, C.A.B. (2007) Involvement of urocortinergic neurons below the midbrain central gray in the physiological response to restraint stress in pigeons. Brain Research 1147:175-183.
  • Pavesi, E.; Enck, M.C.; Toledo, C.A.B. & Terenzi, M.G. (2007) Disruption of maternal behavior by acute stress induces selective activation of the lateral periaqueductal gray. European Journal of Neuroscience 26:2055-2065.
  • Cavalcante, J.S.; Britto, L.R.G.; Toledo, C.A.B.; Nascimento Jr., E.S.; Lima, R.R.M.; Pontes, A.L.B. & Costa, M.S.M.O. (2008) Calcium-binding proteins in the circadian centers of the brains of the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) and the rock cavy (Kerodon rupestris). Brain Research Bulletin 76:354-360.


Project Description: Basic research on neurotransmitter receptor expression and function, specifically metabotrophic glutamate receptors expression after injury and cannabinoid receptor expression in the CNS. Techniques used are small animal surgery and immunocytochemistry, microscopy.

2008 Project Title: Effect of motor cortex stimulation on neuronal activation in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord in rats with peripheral neuropathy

Mentor: Dr. Luiz Britto - Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sao Paulo

Recent mentor publications:

  • Kihara A.H., Santos T.O., Paschon V., Matos R.J. & Britto L.R.G. Lack of neuronal signaling specifically remodels the expression of synaptic proteins in the retina. Neuroscience 151: 995-1005, 2008.
  • Resende, R.R., Gomes, K.N., Britto, L.R.G. & Ulrich, H. Mechanism of acetylcholine-induced calcium signaling during neuronal differentiation of P19 embryonal carcinoma cells in vitro. Cell Calcium 43: 107-121, 2008.
  • Frazao, R., Pinato, L., Da Silva, A.V.,   Britto, L.R.G., Oliveira, J.A. & Nogueira, M.I. Evidence of reciprocal connections between the dorsal raphe nucleus and the retina in the monkey Cebus apella. Neuroscience Letters 430: 119-123, 2008.  


Project Description: The goal of this work is to analyze the modulatory effect of adenosine receptors on the mRNA and protein nitric oxide synthase (NOS), as well as the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO) in cultured cells from the dorsomedial portion of the brain stem.

2011 Project Title: Effect of adenosine on levels of nitric oxide: Cellular mechanisms important for the development of hypertension

Mentor: Dr. Debora R. Fior Chadi - Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, Institute of Biosciences, University of Sao Paulo

  • FERRARI, M. F. R. , REIS, E. M. , MATSUMOTO, J. P. , Fior-Chadi, or D.R. Fior, D.R.. Transcriptome analysis of nicotine-exposed cells from the brainstem of neonate spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar Kyoto rats. The Pharmacogenomics Journal, v. 10, p. 134-160, 2010
  • MATSUMOTO, J. P. P. ; FERRARI, M. F. R. , Fior-Chadi, or D.R. Fior, D.R.. Adenosine receptor type Differently second is modulated by nicotine in the dorsal brainstem cells of Wistar Kyoto and spontaneously hypertensive rats. Journal of Neural Transmission, see May, P. 19-19, 2010.
  • Teodorov, Elizabeth, Bernard, Mary M. ; Ferrari, Merari F. R. , Fior-Chadi, Debora R. ; Felicio, Luciano F. . Plasticity of Opioid Receptors in the periaqueductal Gray Female: Multiparity-Induced Increase in the Activity of Genes Encoding for Mu and kappa receptors and the Post-Translational Decrease Receptor Expression in Delta. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, p. june 30-june 30, 2010.

Site #4

Project Description: The present project focuses on three major groups of vision-threatening conditions: 1. Diseases following long-term exposure to neuro-toxic drugs
and/or substances (e.g., intoxication by organic solvents such as toluene and various forms of mercury-intoxication); 2. Diseases resulting from the interaction between genetic and environmental components (e.g., diabetes and multiple sclerosis); 3. Well-known genetic
diseases  (Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy).

2011 Project Title: Vision as a sensitive indicator of conditions threatening retinal and central nervous system function.

Mentor: Dr. Dora Selma Fix Ventura, Department of Experimental Psychology, Institute of Psychology, University of Sao Paulo

  • Gualtieri, M., Bandeira, M., Hamer, R.D., Damico, F.M., Moura, A.L.A., Ventura, D.F. Contrast Sensitivity Mediated by Inferred Magna- and Parvocellular Pathways in Type 2 Diabetics with and without Nonproliferative Retinopathy. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. Vol. 52 (2); 1151-55, Feb. 2011

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One project, 2 student positions available

Project description: Basic health needs assessment in Palisa District.  Conduct interviews with community members and healthcare providers regarding health needs and health-seeking behaviors.

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One project, 2 student positions available

Project description: This study aims to evaluate the factors that contribute to the regionally distinct healthcare experiences in hopes of promoting the development of future health initiatives that are meaningful, practical, and community-informed.

2011 Project Title: Medical Pluralism in Uganda: Health Seeking Behaviors and Healthcare Perspectives

2009 Project Title: The Art of Healing: The Efficacious Use of Art Therapy with Former Child Soldiers in Northern Uganda 

2008 Project Title: The Efficacy of Art Therapy as a Psychosocial Intervention for Former Child Soldiers in Northern Uganda.

Site mentors: Julia Hanebrink, Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee

Recent mentor publications:

  • Kanu, M., Baker EA & Brownson, RC. Exploring Associations Between Church-Based Social Support and Physical Activity. Journal of Physical Activity and Health 2008;5:504-515.
  • Williams EA.; Kanu M & Williams C. Something Old is New Again: Mutual Aid and the Tennessee Office of Minority Health. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice (in press - Accepted March 2008)
  • Kanu, M., Williams, C., Hepler, N. The likelihood of condom use with steady and casual partners among low-income African Americans in a southern city in the United States. Journal of the National Society of Allied Health (in press Accepted May 2008)

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