The Department strongly encourages undergraduates to pursue independent research as part of their educations. In addition to the high value placed on research by medical and graduate school admissions committees, an undergraduate research experience serves to consolidate all your Genetics training into a single keystone experience.
The easiest way to get research experience is to take GENE 4960R (and continue in GENE 4970R, GENE 4980R and GENE 4990R). Students who complete a thesis (GENE 4990R) can take GENE 4960R and GENE 4970R instead of both required lab courses.
You don't have to wait until your senior year to start in a lab—faculty are generally most enthusiastic about a student who spends several semesters (even years!) in the lab. Those longer-term research experiences will be particularly beneficial as your faculty mentor will be especially committed to your training and further education. Some faculty are happy to mentor you for a single semester, while others prefer a longer commitment. A great way to start a research project is to begin during the summer and continue through the fall.
Applications for Research Course Approval
Research Course Forms:
If you research is with a Genetics faculty member, use this form:
If your research is with a faculty member outside of the Department of Genetics use this form:
After completing a GENE 4960R, a student should have a serious discussion with their research mentor about the possibility of continuing in the lab to work towards a thesis. At minimum, a thesis will require 2 semesters of additional research beyond GENE 4960R (GENE 4970R and 4990R). Some faculty may have additional requirements for students who wish to complete the thesis.
Any student wishing to complete a thesis is encouraged to contact Dr. Jonathan Eggenschwiler (firstname.lastname@example.org). Dr. Eggenschwiler can help you at all stages of the thesis, including deciding if writing a thesis is the right choice for you and with all the mechanics of preparing a thesis.
When turning in your thesis, you may create your own cover sheet or use the signed one provided here:
If you create your own, you must still have the appropriate signatures listed on your sheet.
How do you become involved in undergraduate genetics research?
The easiest way is to contact a faculty member whose work interests you (see a summary of all our faculty research interests). Look at individual faculty web sites; for those who look especially interesting, you might read a few of their recent papers. Contact the faculty member by e-mail and ask if that professor is interested in having an undergraduate doing research in the lab. If so, arrange to meet with the faculty member to discuss the possibilities. It is best to try to line up a meeting in the semester prior to the one in which you want to get started.
There are also some formal programs on campus that provide funding for research experiences, particularly in the summer: