Close Menu

Like a Challenge?

Undergraduate Biology at Illinois Tech in Chicago

Challenge #1

The micrograph shown below is of:

  1. a sample of badly polluted water from the Chicago River
  2. blood serum from a mouse infected with a protozoan parasite
  3. a sample of contaminated tap water
  4. none of the above

Challenge #2

The biochemical pathway below traces out:

  1. The pathway by which certain microbes can remove organic sulfur from petroleum
  2. The initial steps in the biochemical synthesis of steroid hormones
  3. The initial steps in the biochemical degradation of cholesterol
  4. none of the above

Challenge #3

The picture below is:

  1. an artist’s conception of the details of the structure of a cell membrane
  2. an X-ray crystallographic analysis of a small portion of the structure of the hemoglobin form the bacterium Vitreoscilla
  3. a three-dimensional depiction of how lactic acid is produced in muscle during strenuous activity
  4. none of the above

Image permission: Ratakonda, S., A. Anand, K. L. Dikshit, B. C. Stark, and A. J. Howard, “Crystallographic structure determination of B10 mutants of Vitreoscilla hemoglobin: role of Tyr29 (B10) in the structure of the ligand binding site,” Acta Crystallograr. Sect. F: Struct. Biol. and Cryst. Comm. 69, 215-222 (2013).

Challenge #4

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The following pictures show micrographs of two different clinical colon biopsy samples. Which one of these pictures shows colon cancer?

Challenge #5

Mitochondria are the power engines for cells. What will mitochondria do when the cells are placed under starvation conditions? The following pictures are from “immunostaining” of individual mammalian cells grown in cell culture (mitochondria stained green; actin stained red; and nucleus stained blue).

Challenge #6

A DNA sequence is a string of nucleotides, which can be represented as a string of letters on a computer. Uncompressed, each letter requires one byte. How much RAM (Random Access Memory) would be required to load a sequencing dataset sufficient to cover the human genome at a 50X depth?

Challenge #7

Parasitism is often facilitated by the gain of new functions, sometimes by turning one’s metabolism against itself. What is the main mechanism by which pathogens can acquire new functions from foreign sources?

Challenge #8

Land plant photosynthesis uses the red portion of the light spectrum. In contrast, the photosynthetic apparatus of most algae is optimized towards the blueish, shorter wavelength portion of the spectrum. Why?