Biology CIRCLE Program

Biology CIRCLE program 2022

Solving modern scientific problems typically involves multiple approaches and techniques, often called "team science." With the Biology CIRCLE Program, undergraduate students will have the opportunity to work on exciting research projects in teams that include mentors from two different research laboratories. In this way, students will investigate a basic research question from two different perspectives.

Examples of interdisciplinary projects are:

  1. characterization of plant extracts and their effects on neuron function
  2. genetic underpinnings of stress physiology
  3. molecular basis of neuroinflammation
  4. comparative genomics and functional analysis of lipid metabolism
  5. spatiotemporal dynamics of the scalp microbiota

Another exciting component of our program is community engagement, where students give back to the community by sharing their science with children.

Apply to the Biology CIRCLE Program

Program Highlights

  1. A $5750 stipend and free on-campus housing and meal plan
  2. Ten-week immersive program with a focus on biological research
  3. Career development, including grad school opportunities
  4. Community engagement by teaching science to middle school-aged children
  5. Starts with an orientation boot camp and ends with a capstone research symposium

Eligibility and Application Requirements

The program runs from May 23rd to July 29th, 2022.

Application opens:  November 15, 2021
Application deadline: February 5th, 2022

No prior research experience is necessary, but a clear interest in biological research is. Academic transcripts, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation are part of the application. Contact Dr. Sarah Woodley with any questions. Because this is an NSF-funded program, participants must be US Citizens or Permanent Residents.

When applying to the Biology CIRCLE Program, please identify at least 3 faculty mentors from the list below whose research is of interest to you.

Dr. Phil Auron - Eukaryotic Gene Regulation - We are interested in the molecular mechanisms of cytokine gene regulation. One of these cytokines is interleukin 1 (IL-1) which influences genes expressing various proteins that can modulate the level of acute and chronic inflammation and thus mediate subsequent fever and tissue destruction. Our investigations use in vivo, in vitro, and in silico approaches to integrate cell physiology with molecular and structural mechanisms.

Dr. Jill Dembowski - Virus host interactions - We are interested in understanding how host factors contribute to the regulation of herpes simplex virus DNA replication and gene expression. We previously found that several host DNA replication, repair, and transcription factors associate with viral DNA. We will manipulate the expression and function of these factors and investigate the resulting effect on viral processes.

Dr. Jan Janecka - Population Genetics, Conservation Biology, and Evolution - Our laboratory uses genomics to understand structure and history of animal populations, the genetic mechanisms underlying adaptation, and the evolution of mammals. Our studies focus on wild felids, including snow leopards, tigers, ocelots, and bobcats.

Dr. Jelena Janjic - Nanotechnology - I lead a multidisciplinary and integrated research laboratory that trains students in cell biology and molecular imaging related to pain, injury, organ preservation, and inflammation-targeted nanotechnology for imaging and treatment tailored for civilian and military applications.

Dr. Michael Jensen-Seaman - Evolutionary Biology - Our lab is interested in identifying genetic changes responsible for phenotypic adaptation in humans and the great apes. We also study patterns and process in mammalian genome evolution.

Dr. Wook Kim - Microbial Evolution and Multicellularity - We are broadly interested in understanding the mechanisms of microbial interaction by integrating from population biology to molecular biology at three scales: i) the study of adaptive multicellular behaviors, ii) the study of de novo mutations that forge new interactions, and iii) the study of natural interactions between ecologically and clinically linked strains and species.

Dr. Joe McCormick - Cell and Developmental Biology - My laboratory is interested in the problems of cell division (cytokinesis) and genome segregation. We study these developmentally regulated problems using the filamentous sporulating soil bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor, advantageous for molecular genetic study because division is dispensable in this mycelial organism.

Dr. Jana Patton-Vogt - Molecular and Cell Biology - My laboratory uses genetic biochemical techniques to study phospholipid biosynthesis and turnover. I use yeast, a simple eukaryotic organism, for these studies.

Dr. John Pollock - Biotechnology - Dr. Pollock's lab studies how genes regulate one another during the development of the nervous system and during the perception of pain.

Dr. Brady Porter - Conservation Biology and Molecular Ecology - Combining natural history and molecular markers, research in the Porter Lab involves conservation genetics, mating systems, phylogeography and systematics of North American freshwater fishes and aquatic organisms.

Dr. Kyle Selcer - Reproductive Physiology and Environmental Ecology - My lab is interested in steroid hormone physiology with a focus on the role of the enzyme steroid sulfatase in reproduction. Another project involves use of vitellogenin as a biomarker for environmental endocrine disruptors in reptiles and amphibians.

Dr. John Stolz - Environmental Biology and Ecology - I am an environmental microbiologist interested in microbe/mineral interactions. My current research is on the microbial transformation of elements like arsenic and selenium, community structure in modern marine stromatolites, and the environmental impacts and microbiology associated with shale gas extraction. We use a combination of genomics, proteomics, and biochemical approaches in addition to confocal scanning laser microscopy and electron microscopy.

Dr. Kevin Tidgewell - My lab works in the field of natural products chemistry. We focus on the discovery of novel ligands from marine cyanobacteria to elucidate the role of G-protein coupled receptors in central nervous system function and pain.

Dr. Sarah Woodley - Vertebrate Physiology and Behavior - Research in my lab focuses on how environmental perturbations impact organismal biology. Using a combination of field and lab research, we study how different types of stressors influence physiology, neurobiology, behavior, and disease. We use amphibian models in our research.