More than 30 teams of College of Charleston students and faculty mentors are conducting research this summer as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research with Faculty (SURF) grant program. Teams are investigating everything from human immunology to the effects of caffeine and the prose of Hart Crane.

“SURF grants really give undergraduates and professors the opportunity to collaborate, and learn from each other,” says Trisha Folds-Bennett, director of undergraduate research and creative activities. “Students are submerged in the research process, which prepares them for admission to top graduate schools and competitive jobs. In many cases, these teams publish their results in professional journals and present results at disciplinary conferences.”

SURF grant recipients are awarded up to $6,500 and the student is expected to work full time for 10 weeks. The culmination of the research is participation in the college-wide “Celebration of Summer Scholars: Exposition of Faculty and Student Research, Scholarship & Creativity at the College of Charleston, which will be held on Monday, August 19, 2013. They are also required to submit a written project summary for public dissemination and are encouraged to submit results to regional, national and international publications.

Religious Studies Professor Katie Hladky along with Parker Bednar, history major, and Heather Gilbert, Lowcountry Digital Library, will bridge the gap between scholarly and public histories of Charleston. They will publish an accessible and historically accurate overview of African American religious life in Charleston before the Civil War. This interactive, online exhibition will be hosted by the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Chemistry Professor Justin Wyatt will continue his fight against cancer with Chemistry Major F. Jamie Claire. Together, they will test anticancer drugs on prostate cancer cells as well as healthy brain cells to determine if the drugs are dual-action. Then, they will design, synthesize and assess new anticancer compounds.

Does caffeine or stimulated activity improve circadian rhythms? That’s what Psychology Professor Mark Hurd and Jessica Dugan, psychology major, will be researching this summer using zebrafish.

Math Professor Gary Harrison and undergraduate Michael Lis will be constructing a computer model to understand the patient flow in a hospital. Their end goal is to help hospital administrators predict costs or even alter their admission strategy to reduce costs.

More information on the SURF program and other research opportunities offered through the office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities.