STem Applied Research and Training Projects

Incorporating 3D Printing in Biology

Andrew Vinal Photo
Project Mentor: Andrew Clayton Vinal
[email protected]

Students at Wake Technical Community College are invited to work in groups in the STEM Lab involving biology projects that utilize the 3D printer to enhance their understanding of Biology and Anatomy & Physiology.  In Biology, students are challenged to describe the structure and function of any of any one of the 215,000 analyzed proteins in the PDB databank ( For Anatomy, students can study proteins, human anatomical structures and delineate and explored the structure and functions in 3D. Students in either project, accomplish their tasks by doing background research, download and manipulate the 3D structure for 3D printing (STL), learn how to print in 3D, then prepare a research paper describing the structure and function of the project protein.  Students can utilize the Honor Program to achieve additional recognition, receive a certificate of completion, and document on their resumes their upload of work to the NIH Print Exchange (

The work was made possible by a Grant #1400458 from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Reference Codes: 1032, 9178, Smet S-Stem: Schlr Sci Tech Eng & Math, Advanced Tech Education Prog.

Model Science - 3D

Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria

Project Mentor: Dr. Brian S. Nunez or Anthony Blair
[email protected] or [email protected]

Dr. Nunez's Project:

The focus of our research program is antibiotic resistance in bacteria (ARB). ARB is a growing problem in both community and health care settings, and its study is therefore very important to society in general. ARB is at its base a genetics problem, as changes in the genome of susceptible bacteria can lead to new genes which confer resistance to one or more antibiotics. In many cases, once a bacterium has developed resistance to an antibiotic, it can share this resistance with other bacteria. Therefore, ARB is both a clinical and environmental phenomenon. We use the techniques of microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry to exam how ABR develops and propagates. These studies will benefit society, in no small part by benefiting the students who conduct the research.



Mr. Blair's Project: 

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria or other microbes to resist the effects of an antibiotic MRSA and other strains of bacteria are resistance to multiple types of commercially available antibiotics.  This project is designed to find novel antibiotics that are produced in the environment by bacteria and fungi.  Such antibiotics might help combat MRSA and other pathogenic bacteria.


Aquatic Flora and Fauna

Project Mentors: Dr. Luc A. Dunoyer and Mrs. Melinda Gibbs
[email protected] or [email protected]

In this project students will help identify which fauna (invertebrates: crayfish and aquatic insects) and flora (trees, bushes, etc.species are populating streams found in Wake county. This project will involve literature reviews, wading in streams (to sample invertebrates and water quality) and walking along the stream banks (to sample the flora) in riparian zones. Although waders and nets will be provided, this is field work, therefore, students should expect to be outside for four hours at a time wading in cold water or walking in the forest. This project is the perfect opportunity to learn some real field skills as well as being exposed to what an environmental consultant job is all about. Finally, students will learn how to identify invertebrates and plants, determine water quality, and learn more about population ecology and the natural world by exploring it themselves. 

Dr. Luc A. Dunoyer Photo

Geology Field Guide of North Carolina

Project Mentors: Dr. Jessica Kelley and Mr. Ian Brown

Students in this project will use Google Earth (online mapping software) and online resources to create a Geology Field Guide of North Carolina which will be geared towards introducing geology students to the wide variety of geological features of our state.

This project will involve becoming familiar with Google Earth, literature reviews of state geology, and the creation of 1) a virtual ‘tour’ of North Carolina geology in Google Earth and 2) a companion document displaying the locales and descriptions featured in the virtual tour.


Pollinator Diversity

Project Mentor: Mary Christie and Gail Tompkins
[email protected] and [email protected]

Students working on this project will help to track pollinator diversity in the Pollinator Meadow or around campus on Wake Tech’s Scott Northern Wake Campus. Students will help collect insect samples, help to identify the insects to order and determine if the pollinator diversity is changing over time.

Butterflies Photo

Understanding the Neuse River Ecosystem

Maria Fadri Photo
Project Mentor: Dr. Maria Fadri
[email protected]

In Wake Technical Community College’s STEM lab, Dr. Fadri works with undergraduate students to understand urban biodiversity using camera trapping and molecular techniques like DND barcoding and e-DNA (environmental DNA) analysis. Using these approaches, Dr. Fadri and her students work to identify, characterize, and better understand the mammals, plants, and microbes of the Neuse River ecosystem.

Deer at night