August of 2017
Novel Cell Surface Anchoring Mechanism of Prokaryotic Secreted Protein - Mohd Farid Abdul Halim, Ph.D.
The Genetic Architecture Underlying Rapid Seasonal Evolution in Natural Populations of Drosophila melanogaster - Emily Behrman, Ph.D.
Developmental Functions of MIR156 and MIR157 in Arabidopsis- Jia He, Ph.D.
Dedifferentiation of Cytotoxic Lympthocyte into Central Memory CD8+T Cells: Lessons from Antiviral T-Stem Cells on the Architecture of Aging and Immunotherapy - Jonathan Johnnidis, Ph.D.
Class of 2017
Proteolytic Activation by ADAMTS3 Defines Distinct Mechanisms of Lymphangiogenesis Mediated by VEGFC and VEGFD - Hung Bui, Ph.D.
Transcript Diversity in the Protozoan Parasite Toxoplasma Gondii - Maria Diaz, Ph.D.
Plant-soil Feedback and Succession in Heavy Metal Soils - Lee Dietterich, Ph.D.
Genome Editing Approach to Uncover Microtubule-Actin Crosslinking Factor (MACF1) Essential Domains in Establishing Oocyte Polarity and Nuclear Positioning - Matias Escobar, Ph.D.
Investigation of the Spatiotemporal Dynamics of cAMP and PKA Signaling and the Role of HCN4 Subunits in Anxiety-Related Behavior and Memory - Vincent Luczak, Ph.D.
The C-REL Transcription Factor Controls Metabolism and Proliferation of Human T Cells - George Luo, Ph.D.
Space, Time and Change: Investigations in Soil Bacterial Diversity in the Montane Steppe of Mongalia - Aurora MacRae-Crerar, Ph.D.
Population Genetics of Borrelia Burgdorferi in the Eastern and Midwestern United States - Stephanie Seifert, Ph.D.
Hypermutability in Asexuals: Investigating the Effects of Deleterious Mutations - Tanya Singh, Ph.D.
Class of 2016
Molecular and Cellular Approaches Toward Understanding Dynein-Driven Motility - Swathi Ayloo, Ph.D.
Cell Biology of Cheating - Mechanisms of Chromosomes Segregation during Female Meiosis - Lukas Chmatal, Ph.D.
Detecting Selection on Noncoding Nucleotide Variations: Methods and Applications - Yang Ding, Ph.D.
Short Term Adult Plasticity in Drosophila melanogaster and its Role in Climatic Adaptation - Vinayak Mathur. Ph.D.
A Study of the Role of Gata6 in Definitive Endoderm Specification and β Cell Functionality by Genome Engineering of the Pluripotent Stem Cells - Amita Tiyaboonchai, Ph.D.
Phenotypic Variation in the Dogwhelk, Nucella lapillus: an Integration of Ecology, Karyotype and Phenotypic Plasticity - Katie Vazquez, Ph.D.
Genomic, Evolutionary and Functional Analyses of Diapause in Drosophila melanogster - Xiaqing Zhao, Ph.D.
Selective Forces that Shape the VLS Antigenic Variation System in Borrelia Burgdorferi - Wei Zhou, Ph.D.
Class of 2015
A Role of SWI/SNF Complex in ABA-dependent Drought Responsive Gene Expression in Arabidopsis thaliana - Soon Ki Han, Ph.D.
Mechanisms Underlying the Role of Drosophila TIMELESS in the Molecular Clock and in the Circadian Response to Light - A Reum Jang, Ph.D.
The Genetic Basis of Phenotypic Plasticity in Natural Populations of Drosophila - Katherine O'Brien, Ph.D.
Spatial and Temporal Variation in Wild Pollination Services in the Mongolian Steppe - Dan Song, Ph.D.
Promoting T-snare Binary Complex Assembly and Membrane Fusion by the Exocyst Protein Sec3 - Peng Yue, Ph.D.
Novel Regulators in the Germline Stem Cell Niche of Drosophila Testis - Qi Zheng, Ph.D.
Class of 2014
Change and Impact of microRNA Modification with Age in Drosophila melanogaster - Masashi Abe, Ph.D.
Mitotic Kinases in Meiosis - Olga Davydenko, Ph.D.
Higher-Order Chromatin Organization in Hematopoietic Transcription - Wulan Deng, Ph.D.
Effects of Temperature on Global Gene Expression in Natural Strains of Budding Yeast - Hoa Giang, Ph.D.
Regulators of Mouse and Human Beta Cell Proliferation - Yang Jiao, Ph.D.
Trial-by-Trial Coding of Instructive Signals in the Cerebellum: Insights from Eyeblink Conditioning in Mice - Farzaneh Najafi, Ph.D.
The Molecular Mechanism of Synaptic Tagging and Capture - Jung Whan Park, Ph.D.
Dynamics and Fate of the Inner Membrane complex in Toxoplasma gondii - Dinkorma Toure Ouologuem, Ph.D.
Regulation of Adipose Tissue Development and Function by Nuclear Receptors PPARg and Rev-erba - Fenfen Wang, Ph.D.
Towards a Better Understanding of Nonstructural Carbohydrate Storage and Carbon Limitation in Trees - Erin Wiley, Ph.D.
Exo70 Generates Membrane Curvature for Morphogenesis and Cell Migration - Yuting Zhao, Ph.D.
Class of 2013
Higher-order Chromatin Organization in Hematopoietic Transcription - Wulan Deng, Ph.D.
Multiscale Analyses of the Population Structure of Triatoma infestans in an Urban Area - Erica Foley, Ph.D.
The Impact of Terrestrial Dissolved Organic Carbon on Stream Ecosystem Function through an Investigation of Hydrologic Sources in White Clay Creek, PA - Christine McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Biology of Respiratory and Cardiac Functional Deterioration in a Translational Model for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy - Andrew Mead, Ph.D.
Species-Specific Effects on the Oxygen Isotope Ratio of Tree-Ring Cellulose - Xin Song, Ph.D.
The interplay between Lewy body-like alpha-synuclein aggregates and protein degradation pathways in a cell-based model of Parkinson’s disease - Selcuk Tanik, Ph.D.
Structure and Function of H. volcanii flagella - Manuela Tripepi, Ph.D.
Class of 2012
Investigation of the Methane Cycle and Associated Microbial Community of a Pine Forest Soil- Emma Aronson, Ph.D.
A Role for Late Meristem Identity2 in the Reproductive Development of Arabidopsis - Jennifer Pastore, Ph.D.
The Molecular Mechanism of Vegetation Phase Change: Regulation of miR156 Expression and Action - Li Yang, Ph.D.
Meiotic Origins of Maternal Age-Related Aneuploidy - Teresa Chiang, Ph.D.
Decoding Cytochrome C Oxidase Biogenesis: New Insights into Copper Trafficking - Nursel Ekici, Ph.D.
Evolution of Molecular Function in Mammalian Neurons - Chantal Francis, Ph.D.
The Cytoskeletal Mechanisms of Cell-Cell Junction Formation in Endothelial Cells - Matthew Hoelzle, Ph.D.
Microrna Precursor Programmed Silencing Complex Assembly and Regulatory Pathways in Mammals - Xuhang Liu, Ph.D.
The Role of EPAC Signaling in Memory Consolidation and Sleep Deprivation - Nan Ma, Ph.D.
Behavior and Socioendocrinology of Adult and Male Rhesus Macaques of Cayo Santiago - Maria Rakhovskaya, Ph.D.
Molecular Insight into Mechanisms of CAG-Repeat RNA Toxicity in Polyglutamine Disease from Drosophila - Shin-Yi Shieh, Ph.D.
The Evolution of a High Mutation Rate and Declining Fitness in Asexual Populations - Christopher Gentile Ph.D.
Selection on Mutators in Experimental Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Populations: Recombination, Clonal Interference, and the Evolution of Mutation Rates - Yevgeniy Raynes, Ph.D.
Class of 2011
Socioecology, Acoustic Communication and Demography of Asian Elephants in Sri Lanka - Shermin deSilva, Ph.D.
The Role of Exocyst in Exocytosis and Cell Migration - Jianglan Liu, Ph.D.
YY1 Controls Immunoglobulin Class Switch Recombination and Nuclear Aid Levels - Kristina Zaprazna, Ph.D.
Mechanisms of HDAC2 Function in the Regulation of Adult Cardiac Hypertrophy and Embryonic Myocyte Proliferation - Wenting Zhu, Ph.D.
Actin-Independent Mechanisms of Targeting Formin mDIA2 to the Plasma Membrane - Roman Gorelik, Ph.D.
Roles of Protein Factors in Regulation of Imprinted Gene Expression - Shu Lin, Ph.D.
Functional Plasticity of Hippocampal Glutamatergic Synapses in Development and Disease - Xiaoyu Peng, Ph.D.
Physiological Bases of Plant Shrinkage and its Demographic Implications - Roberto Salguero-Gomez, Ph.D.
Class of 2010
Unplugged/Musk Signaling Coordinates Pre- and Post-synaptic Development at the Neuromuscular Junction - Lili Jing, PhD
Spatially Varying Selection on Shell Color Phenotype in the Flat Periwinkle Littorina Obtusata - Megan Phifer-Rixey, PhD
Niche Partitioning Among Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Consequences for Host Plant Performance - Jennifer H. Doherty, PhD
Microrna Pathways Modulate Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases - Nan Liu, PhD
The Rab3A Locus: Studies of Neuronal Expression and Effects on Behavior - Rui Liu, PhD
The Evolutionary Genetics of Life History in Drosophila Melanogaster - Annalise Bloss Paaby, PhD
Using Evolutionary Genomics to Elucidate Parasite Biology and Host-Pathogen Interactions - Lucia Peixoto, PhD
Class of 2009
Characterizing the Role of the Exocyst Component EX070 in Exocytosis and Actin Dynamics in Budding Yeast Saccharomyces Cerevisiae - Bing He, PhD
Slit Down-Regulates CRGAP Function to Mediate Axon Repulsion in the Embryonic Drosphila CNS - Ming Li, PhD
Molecular Basis of Chve Function in Sugar Binding and Virulence in Agrobacterium Tumefaciens - Fanglian He, PhD
Spatial and Temporal Variation in Streambed Bacterial Community Composition and Correlation with Einvironmental Variables and Disturbance - Karen Rowley Hogan, PhD
Squint, The Arabidopsis Ortholog of Cyclophilin40, Affects RNA Silencing- Michael Smith, PhD
Spatial Regulation of CDC42 by its GTPase-Activating Proteins RGA1 and BEM2 in Budding Yeast Saccharomyces Cerevisiae - Zongtian Tong, PhD
Class of 2008
Molecular and Cellular Mechanism of Axon Guidance During Visual System Development in Zebrafish - Michael Gyda, PhD
Phylogeny and Evolution of Prokaryotic Genomes - Fan Ge, PhD
The Role of the Exocyst Complex in Polarized Exocytosis - Puyue Wang, PhD
Evolutionary Ecology of Host Plant Use by an Insect Herbivore in a Highly Seasonal Neotropical Dry Forest - Salvatore Agosta, PhD
Variation Among Dogwhelks (Nucella lapillus) Modifies Predator-prey Interactions within Intertidal Assemblages - Jonathan Fisher, PhD
Peeking into the Black Box: The Structure and Function of Soil Microbial Communities in Response to Increasing Nitrogen Availability - Richard Lucas, PhD
Taxonomic and Functional Diversity of AM Fungi in Serpentine and Prairie Grasslands - Baoming Ji, PhD
Dissecting Different Modules of Cytochrome C Maturation in Rhodobacter Capsulatus- Serdar Turkarslan, PhD
Role of Exocytosis in Cell Polarization - Xiaoli Sun, PhD
Class of 2007
The Analysis of the PI3K/AKT Pathway in Human Ovarian Cancer with a Combination of Genomic and Genetic Appoaches - Jia Huang, PhD
Examination of the Twin-Arginine Translocation Pathway in Bacteria and Archaea - Kieran Dilks, PhD
Spatial Orientation in Columbian Ground Squirrels (Spermophilus Columbianus) - Anna Vlasak, PhD
From Protein to RNA: Study of SCA3 Polyglutamine Disease in Drosophila - Lingbo Li, PhD
Novel Insignts Into Vir Gene Regulation in Agrobacterium Tumefaciens - Gauri Nair, PhD
Spatial and Genetic Patterns of Crane Flies (Diptera: Tipuloidea) from Lake Hovsgol Region, Mongolia - Bazartseren Boldgiv, PhD
Aging in Plants at Multiple Scales - Lori Spindler, PhD
Metabolic Pool, Metabolic Rates and Diapause in Drosophila Melanogster - Christine Wills, PhD
Phylogenetics and Diversification of the Neotropical Serrasalminae (Ostariophysi: Characiformes) - Wasila Dahdal, PhD
Selecting a topic for your dissertation is not easy and is often not the most fun task, but it is extremely important to choose a current and relevant topic. A well-chosen topic ensures that you can more easily write a qualitatively good dissertation. This also makes the writing process more pleasant for you.
Steps in choosing your dissertation topic
Step 1: Check what requirements your study places on the dissertation. Do you have to select from a list of topics or may you make your own choice? And do you have to meet any special terms or conditions?
Step 2: Decide what type of research you want to do. Do you just want to compare existing literature or do you want to carry out practical research yourself, for example, in the form of field research or experimental research? Do you want to make use of existing data or do you want to collect the data yourself?
Step 3: Select a global research discipline. Make sure you realize that for some research disciplines there is more information available than for others.
Step 4: Within your global research discipline, look for current articles and papers. Each field has a number of top journals and trade or professional journals. At the least, always make sure that a couple of articles from these top journals have common issues with your area of research.
For inspiration, you can also enter your research discipline at the website of the primary search engine for scholarly literature, http://scholar.google.com. For more databanks, see the following article: How do you perform desk research?.
Step 5: Select a minor detail or characteristic within your research discipline. Can you explain your topic in a few words?
Step 6: Make a Top 3 list of topics.
Step 7: Show your shortlist to your classmates. If they are enthusiastic about a topic, then you know that you have a good one.
Step 8: From the three topics, select the one that you have the best feeling about.
- Pay attention to the requirements of your study. Sometimes you have to choose from a list of topics within your field.
- Choose a current topic. It is often simpler to find a lot of information about a current topic than a dated topic, about which not much has been written recently. Search via Google (Scholar) for recent articles and web blogs. Or use LexisNexis: a database where you can quickly find all articles within your research discipline. Often you have access to LexisNexis via your higher educational institution or university.
- Always make sure that there are enough scientific sources for your topic. For this, look at the best journals within your field. It’s a good idea to review the last few editions of a number of professional journals.
- Try to choose a commercial angle within your research discipline. This can be very handy later when you are trying to get a job in your field.
- Practical research takes up a great deal of time. If you don’t want to spend too much time on your dissertation, then try to avoid practical research. Instead of conducting research yourself, you could also choose to use existing databases. This saves a lot of time, but also makes your dissertation less unique.
Topic selection within a company
If you are going to write a research paper or dissertation for a company, you must ensure that your colleagues and advisor within the company support your choice of topic.
It is important that the topic is relevant to the company; in this way, you are sure that you can ask for assistance within the company when you need it.
You’ve chosen your topic. What’s next?
As soon as you know your topic, it’s time to write an action plan to outline the structure of your dissertation.
Structure action plan for writing a dissertation