Honors in Biology Presentation

HCU Honors in Biology or Biochemistry-Molecular Biology Program (BS)

HCU Honors in Biology or Honors in Biochemistry-Molecular Biology (BCMB) is a program dedicated to students interested in pursuing an independent research project under the guidance of an HCU Biology faculty mentor of the student’s choosing. Completion of this program will substitute for BIOL/BCMB 4297 (Research) required of all BIOL or BCMB majors.

Benefits of the Programs

  • Ability to design and direct your own research project
    • Prepare for postgraduate research
  • Improve written and oral communication skills
    • Thesis
    • Peer-reviewed journal
    • HCU Symposium of Scholarship
    • Thesis Defense
    • Other conferences, such as TriBeta Regional Convention
    • Publish
    • Present research
  • Obtain a degree with distinction
    • “Honors in Biology” or “Honors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology” denoted on your transcript
    • Discuss the experience at post-undergraduate program interviews

Program Requirements

Students must have completed at least 64 credit hours, with at least 32 of those hours at HCU. Students must also have at least two semesters remaining at HCU to complete the program.

Students must have completed the following BIOL/BCMB and CHEM courses:
BIOL 2454 (General Biology I), BIOL 2455 (General Biology II), BIOL 3301 (Cell & Molecular Biology), BIOL 3414 (Microbiology), BIOL 3444 (Genetics), CHEM 2415 (General Chemistry I), and CHEM 2416 (General Chemistry II). Students who are enrolled and in good standing in these courses will also be considered.

A grade of at least a ‘B’ is required for all of the above courses and any additional BIOL/BCMB courses. The student’s overall GPA must be at least a 3.25, and the BIOL/BCMB GPA should be at least a 3.5. GPA is calculated from the first attempt of each course. Students are expected to maintain these GPA requirements until their graduation from HCU.

Students in the program are expected to maintain the excellence, integrity and respect expected of Biology Honors scholars. Your project must be original and completed at HCU in a timely manner. You are expected to present your research at the HCU Celebration of Scholarship Symposium, as well as one other research conference, such as the Beta Beta Beta Regional Convention during the spring semester. Additionally, you will write a thesis and submit your research for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Application Process

Students are expected to apply the semester before they wish to begin conducting research. Applications for the program are accepted by November 15th or April 15th.

Students are encouraged to discuss a project idea with their faculty mentor, and work with the mentor to develop the project. An abstract (short summary) of the project must be included in the application. Turn in the completed application to Dr. Ellis, who will present the application to the HCU Biology faculty for a vote. Applications are due either by November 15th for a Spring semester start or by April 15th for a Fall semester start. Acceptance into the program will be based on meeting the minimum requirements mentioned above, the commitment of the faculty mentor, and the scope and feasibility of the project. Students will be notified of the department’s decision before the end of the semester.

Program Timeline (View Timeline)

Immediately upon acceptance into the program, students will need to register for BIOL 4297 or BCMB 4297 (Research), depending on their degree plan, for the upcoming semester. Students will also begin a literature review of topics related to the project. This review will prepare the student for the proposal presentation and thesis.

Within the first several weeks of the first semester in the Honors program, students will complete a research proposal paper and present the proposal to members of the HCU Biology faculty. This proposal will include a more detailed discussion of the project, references, figures, and account for safety issues related to the project. Students will spend the remainder of the semester (or two semesters if time permits) conducting research toward the completion of the project.

During the final semester, students will review previous theses for style and proper formatting. Students will write an original 20-30-page thesis. Dr. Henderson as the HCU Biology chair, Dr. Ellis as coordinator of the Honors in Biology or Honors in BCMB program, the faculty mentor, and two other HCU Biology faculty members will review the thesis. Students will work with their faculty mentor to revise the thesis until all of the above faculty members approve the thesis.

The final stage of the program is a public defense of the thesis. Successful completion of the above requirements will culminate in the student being acknowledged at the graduation ceremony as “Graduating with Honors in Biology (or Biochemistry and Molecular Biology),” and the designation will be on the transcript.

Previous Honors in Biology or BCMB Scholars

The thesis of each Honors in Biology or Honors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology scholar is available via the HCU Library.

  • Sebastian Calderon
    • “Comparison of the Prevalence of E. coli 0157:H7 Amongst Cows and Bulls in Bovine Populations Using PCR”
    • Fall 2021 – Spring 2022
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jackie Horn
  • Stephenie Rogers
    • “Potential for Combination Antibiotic-Phage Treatment as a Viable Therapeutic”
    • Fall 2021 – Spring 2022
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Curtis Henderson
  • Tristan Henderson
    • “An Unexpected Isolation of Antibiotic-Resistant Vibrio Harveyi Clade Bacteria from the Guts of Galveston Bay Bloodworms”
    • Fall 2020 – Spring 2021
    • Faculty Mentors: Dr. Matt Blank, Dr. Lisa Ellis, Dr. Jackie Horn, Dr. Hannah Wingate
  • Michael Clowers
    • “Antimicrobial properties of Solenopsis invicta transferrin”
    • Fall 2017-Spring 2018
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Agnieszka Czopik
  • Nemil Bhatt
    • “Testing for Antibiotic Resistance in Propionibacterium acnes Using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to Focus on Resistance”
    • Fall 2016 – Spring 2017
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jackie Horn
  • Kristen Ott
    • “Effects of the Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor PD166285 on Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells”
    • Fall 2015 – Spring 2017
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Hannah Wingate
  • Anam Kesaria
    • “An Analysis of Biofeedback, Alpha Waves, and Word Recall”
    • Spring 2014 – Fall 2014
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rachel Hopp
  • Alex Pop
    • “The Effect of Infrasonic Mechanical Vibrations on the Biofilm Formation of Staphylococcus epidermidis
    • Fall 2013 – Fall 2014
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jackie Horn and Dr. James Claycomb
  • Gloria Besil
    • “Analysis of the Changes in Acquisition of Resistance to Bacteriostatic and Bactericidial Drugs by Escherichia coli.”
    • Spring 2013 – Fall 2013
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rachel Hopp
  • Jean Ghosn
    • “PCR Detection of Naegleri fowleri and Cyanobacteria in Texas Lakes”
    • Fall 2012 – Spring 2013
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Hannah Wingate
  • Heather Wilbourn
    • “Influence of Bacteria and Dissolved Organic Carbon on Algal Growth”
    • Fall 2011 – Spring 2012
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jackie Horn and Dr. Nicole Pinaire