Disclaimer: The author does not have any conflicting interests with regards to the labs referenced in this article.
Researching places to research? Scrambling to find a place after you failed to keep your eyes on the PRISE? If you still haven’t arranged what you’ll be doing over the summer and are interested in pursuing research opportunities, consider an internship at one of the following labs right here on campus, which are accepting undergraduates including freshmen. These don’t represent the full body of undergrad-accepting labs on campus, but take this as a smattering of the diverse smorgasbord of cutting-edge science development happening on campus—science development that you can help out with.
Have you ever wondered about the neurobiological basis for behaviour? Ever considered how behaviours could have evolved over time from the seemingly simple to the overwhelmingly complex? At the de Bivort lab, headed by Dr. Ben de Bivort, study the behaviour of Drosophila fruit flies through comparative genomics and circuit neuroscience to untangle the mysteries of how behaviour evolution can cause speciation and individual preferences.
Curious to learn—and help to discover more—about how animal embryos differentiate cells early in development? Want to develop skill and experience with about high-throughput gene expression and next-generation genetic sequencing? The Extavour lab, headed by Dr. Cassandra Extavour, is looking for motivated undergrads to assist in screening for gene controls to uncover how both model and non-model organisms become organisms in the first place.
Enjoy dabbling in computation and software? Interested in discovering new functions of RNA and strengthening evolutionary models? Working under Elena Rivas, a senior research fellow at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, help to develop new algorithms and models through statistical inference to solve the enigma of long coding RNAs.
Fancy yourself an engineer? Intrigued by the concept of programming biological nano-machines for very real world applications? At the Molecular Systems Lab, headed by Peng Yin, learn how to engineer programmable molecular systems, built with nucleic acids rather than with the typical tools of engineering.
Consider yourself a flower enthusiast? Ever thought about how flowers have evolved—and why? The Kramer lab, headed by Elena Kramer, researches a variety of aspects of evolution and morphology of flower biology, including interactions with pollinators such as bees and birds, how the various parts of a flower—petal, fruit, sepal, and so on—evolved, and the effects of gene duplication.
Ever considered the neuronal background behind instinctive versus learned behaviours? Curious about the mystery of how a few interconnected cells can generate emergent complex behaviour? The Engert lab at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
If something on this list has intrigued you, take a deeper look at what they do, and send off an email with your qualifications—the most that they can say is “no”. Consider asking your professors or TFs for more recommendations; they could even put in a good word for you. Whatever you choose to pursue this summer, whether it’s research or something else, remember that the sooner you contact perspective mentors, the easier it’ll be. Good luck from all of us here at Scientista!