I publish scholarly research on the religious dimensions of science, especially since 1650. I am active in academic societies devoted to studying the history of science and interactions between science and religion.
Water quality projects focusing on Pennsylvania waterways relating to ecosystem and human health:
My current research interests focus in two areas:
Aquaponics- we are studying use of the Intag patented media bed system to grow native plant species for restoration using both fish and chicken waste (not at the same time) as well as investigating the use of both to grow important food crops very rapidly. Current projects are underway with cocoa, oak and butternut trees, maple trees and potatoes.
Forest Ecology- we are studying differential species recruitment and stand establishment on historic charcoal hearths in Central Pennsylvania. The hearths were used from the late 1700's until the late 1800's for production of wood charcoal for iron furnaces here in Pennsylvania. This required repeated cutting of the surrounding forests (20-25 year cut cycles, roughly 70,000,acres per furnace) and conversion of the wood to charcoal on the hearths (2-3 weeks of burning under reducing conditions). Hearths have a 10-20cm layer of charcoal from this process vs. no distinct layer of charcoal in the surrounding forests.
I have long been intrigued by the genetics controlling metastasis, the spread of cancer. What enables a tumor cell to travel to a distant site in the body, and once it is in this radically different organ environment, proliferate into another lesion? My lab is currently working to understand genes controlling the aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer. In particular, how do small hormones, called gastrin and CCK, cause pancreatic cancer to grow? How effectively can we fight pancreatic cancer by blocking the tumor’s production of these hormones?
Results from some of my studies in behavioral ecology and natural history of the Panamanian golden frog have encouraged me to delve into issues surrounding aposematic coloration in these amphibians. As a concerned biologist, I have become active in endangered species conservation and population recovery by organizing and co-directing Proyecto Rana Dorada (http://www.ranadorada.org/), a multi-institutional species survival initiative for the endangered Panamanian golden frog, Atelopus zeteki.
Likewise, I have studied biodiversity modeling and community ecology in woodland vernal pools in Southern Pennsylvania, Bd fungal disease in amphibians, 3D spatial ecology in Neotropical canopy frogs, and persistent pesticide presence in salamander communities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Three interests propel research projects in my laboratory: 1.) How can T cell-mediated immunity be used to control and/or prevent cancer?; 2.) Can the causative agent of severe malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, be cultivated in the laboratory using frozen human blood?; 3.) I routinely develop or improve laboratory experiences used in my traditional Immunology, Microbiology or Molecular Biology courses.
My lab focuses on molecular genetic research in the plant model system Arabidopsis thaliana, a mustard weed. Arabidopsis is an ideal system to do genetic research in because it possesses a number of ideal characteristics and an impressive array of available resources, including the completed sequence of its genome. My lab uses molecular genetic approaches to study the response of plants to metal ions (which has potential applications in phytoremediation). If you are interested in either project and would like to find out more information, please feel free to drop by my office (J255) and chat or contact me at: MShin@Messiah.edu.