The Branchini Bioluminescence Research Group supports the overarching philosophy in the sciences that teaching and research with undergraduates is one unified activity. Bioluminescence work has been highly appealing to students and should continue to be so. Students who participate in the group’s projects have the opportunity to be meaningfully involved in modern mainstream bioluminescence research and co-author research articles and/or present papers at national conferences. Modern facilities and equipment provide an inviting environment for students and faculty to engage in collaborative research. Many alumni of the group are now professional scientists, typically in the pharmaceutical industry or in medicine.

Professor Bruce Branchini and students collecting fireflies for bioluminescence research.

Undergraduate research students share their experiences

"I never believed I would get the chance to be the first person to create one, let alone a handful, of new compounds."

"This summer working in the Branchini lab has been an amazing experience. My time in the lab focused on original synthetic research that had never been done before. My project was to create various benzothiophene luciferin substrates for analytical use in the lab. To begin these multi-step syntheses I had to become familiar with a wide range of synthetic techniques and learn to use many complex instruments. My favorite part of this project was when I began to synthesis the benzothiophene versions of dehydroluciferin and oxylucifern because these compounds and a few of their precursors had never been made before. When I began my research I never believed I would get the chance to be the first person to create one, let alone a handful, of new compounds. The research was great but the people in the Branchini lab made my time there even better, I cannot wait to get back to Connecticut College and continue with my research." - Derrick Roy '14

". . . exploring never-before-seen luciferin analogs"

"Working with the Bioluminescence Research group has turned out to be an experience that has exceeded my greatest expectations. From the beginning of my time here I’ve been given the opportunity to jump right in on the raw research, starting with my own project in the summer of 2011 exploring never before seen luciferin analogs. Some are dim, some are bright, some light up for hours on end, and each expresses their own unique color. It’s been an incredible journey seeing this project from the very beginning to what is now a massive compilation of information soon to be shared with the science world. Besides this project, I’ve also helped with other projects within the lab, which is one of its greatest features. There is such a variety of work constantly going on that it allows a student to learn a wide range of lab techniques, instruments and knowledge. I’m incredibly grateful for having been welcomed into the laboratory, and I hope future undergraduate students will not hesitate to take up the multitude of research opportunities offered at Connecticut College."
– Yumi Kovic '14