November 30, 2015

Details: Biological Discovery in Woods Hole
Summer Opportunity for Undergraduate Research


Department of Education
7 MBL Street
Woods Hole MA 02543

Program Dates: June 17 – August 21, 2015

Application Deadline: March 15, 2015 | Online Application

Program Summary | Program Details | FAQ

The Marine Biological Laboratory invites undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing careers in the life sciences to apply to the Biological Discovery in Woods Hole program. Faculty with expertise in molecular and cell biology, neurobiology & behavior, physiology, developmental biology, and evolutionary biology will guide ten highly motivated undergraduate students in this National Science Foundation – Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU) program. Each undergraduate student will be placed in the laboratory of an MBL research scientist and fully participate in all laboratory exercises and activities. The program will provide a stipend of approximately $5000 to each student, and room and board for 10 weeks. For priority consideration, applications are due by February 15, 2015. Students from small colleges or from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. Although the admission committee will continue to review and accept applications up until March 15, it is strongly suggested that your completed application be received by February 15, 2015 to allow time for consideration of your entire file. Students will begin to be notified by the end of March, 2015.

The Program: The Biological Discovery in Woods Hole (BDWH) Program is designed as an intensive, 10-week research experience for undergraduates at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA. The major portion of each student’s time will be dedicated to an individual research project under the direction of one of the participating mentors (see list at right). The program will be conducted from June through mid-August each summer, and will integrate the students with the marine setting and the unique intellectual blend of year-round and summer investigators at the MBL to provide a diverse and varied undergraduate research experience. The program will focus on the molecular, cellular and physiological processes that give rise to and regulate complex physiological systems, and which ultimately mediate organismal behavior. The program’s goal is to recruit highly motivated students, especially from under-represented groups and/or schools with limited research opportunities, and immerse them in research programs under the guidance of mentors selected from visiting summer investigators or year-round investigators at the MBL who are fully committed to enhancing the undergraduate research experience. To augment the research experience, students will participate in field trips, and attend weekly course meetings, seminars and/or luncheons that will explore a wide range of topics (e.g., graduate school application, ethics, career paths) to encourage the students to prepare and pursue a career in biological sciences. There will also be group activities, field trips and barbeques to provide peer interactions. Finally, the program will culminate with an undergraduate research symposium.

The Research Environment: The Marine Biological Laboratory is an international center for research, education, and training in biology. It was established in 1888 as an institute where marine organisms were used as model systems in the study of cell biology, neurobiology, and embryology. During the summer, the 270 year-round scientists and support staff of the MBL are joined by an additional 300 visiting scientists in our Whitman Center for visiting research, as well as 1200 graduate / postdoctoral students and faculty in our discovery courses, all from over 200 institutions throughout the world. Scientists are attracted to the MBL as well by the opportunity to collaborate with investigators at the other scientific institutions in Woods Hole. These include the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the United States Geological Survey, and the Woods Hole Research Center. In the small village of Woods Hole, this concentration of researchers and institutions results in a scientific community unparalleled in the world.

Research Facilities: The MBL houses a number of unique research facilities. These include a state-of-the-art Marine Resources Center, which provides for the latest approaches in husbandry and mariculture of marine organisms; advanced equipment for light microscopy combined with computer imaging; and the MBL/WHOI library, which is one of the most complete science libraries in the world. There are numerous opportunities to attend a variety of seminars and lectures. The MBL hosts many educational courses which run throughout the summer. Those courses draw their instructional faculty from leading researchers in the respective fields and each offers a daily lecture or seminar series which is open to the scientific community at large. The MBL Friday Night Lecture Series brings in speakers of particular note who are of interest to a wider audience. Additionally, a number of courses and groups sponsor informal evening or lunch-time seminars.

Eligibility: Undergraduate student participants will be supported with National Science Foundation funds and must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An undergraduate student is a student who is enrolled in a degree program (part-time or full-time) leading to a bachelor’s degree. Students that will have graduate from their institution prior to the summer program are not eligible to apply. Students who are transferring from one institution to another and are enrolled at neither institution during the intervening summer may participate. High school graduates who have not yet enrolled and students who have received their bachelor’s degrees and are no longer enrolled as undergraduates generally are not eligible.

Stipend and Housing: Students will receive a stipend of approximately $5000 for the ten week program. Room and board will be provided in MBL dormitories which are on the MBL campus, and a stone’s throw from the ocean. The rooms are shared, and the BDWH students are usually assigned rooms together. Please note the cafeteria is not open on Sundays.

To apply: Applications must be received by March 15, 2015 (however, we strongly encourage applications to be in by February 15, 2105). Applications will be notified in late March 2015, at which time additional registration and housing information will be provided. The application form can be accessed online after December 15, 2014. Students from under-represented groups and/or small colleges are especially encouraged to apply.

Each student must submit a CV/resume, short essays (maximum one page each) describing his or her reasons for wanting to participate in the program, their expectations of the program and specific research areas or mentors of interest. Additionally, each student will be asked to upload a copy of his/her unofficial transcript on the online application and name two references. These references will be sent an email with directions on how to upload their letters of recommendation. Most competitive applicants are those who will have completed two or three years at an undergraduate institution, with a major in a science, by the start of the program. Students are selected based on their academic credentials, essays and letters, with the aim of ensuring a diversity of students with respect to race, gender, geography, and academic background. Students are matched with faculty mentors based on course work, experience, and/or expressed research interest, as well as availability of mentors. Please note you are applying to the program and not to a specific mentor. Mentor selection on the application form is only for the purposes of placement of selected students and is not a factor in the selection process. Although most students are assigned one of their top three mentor choices, we cannot guarantee you will be placed in these labs.

Acceptance and Mentor Assignments: Notices of acceptance into the program will be sent to applicants beginning in late March. After the students confirm their participation in the program, they will receive a schedule of orientation activities, as well as a roster of all student and research mentor participants in the program and information on the MBL, including travel and housing. The program co-directors will then make tentative assignments of each student to a research mentor. These assignments take into account any preferences for particular research areas that the students express in their applications and previous research experiences (if any). A synopsis of the student’s background is sent to the proposed mentor for review and approval and the mentor is instructed to contact the student by e-mail and/or phone to provide the student with background information and materials to be read to prepare the student for the research project.

Participant mentors and the projects they pursue:

Peter B. Armstrong, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis. Comparative immunology, evolutionarily conserved immune effector systems.

David Bodznick Ph.D., Professor & Dean of Natural Sciences, Wesleyan University, Electroreception of cartilaginous fishes

Gary Borisy Ph.D., Director, MBL and Senior Scientist, Cellular Dynamics Program, MBL, Mechanisms of cell division and cell motility

Scott Brady Ph.D., Professor & Chair of Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Illinois – Chicago, Molecular specializations of the axonal cytoskeleton in squid and mammals

David Burgess Ph.D., Professor & Chair of Biology, Boston College, Regulation of cytoskeleton and cytokinesis in echinoderms

Linda A. Deegan Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Ecosystems Center, MBL, Swimming ability, metabolism & ecology of Arctic grayling

Anne Giblin Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Ecosystems Center, MBL, Effects of anthropogenic inputs of elements to ecosystems

Maria Gomez Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biology, Universidad Nacional de Colombia; Adjunct Associate Scientist, MBL, Regulation and transduction in invertebrate photoreceptors

Roger Hanlon Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Marine Resources Center, MBL, Cephalopod sensory systems & behavior

Emma Heart Ph.D., Assistant Research Scientist, Cellular Dynamics Program, MBL, Cellular & molecular mechanisms responsible for glucose regulation

Marko Horb, PhD., Associate Scientist, Bell Center for Regenerative Biology, and Director of the National Xenopus Resource, MBL, Using Xenopus laevis to identify molecular signals underlying specification of the pancreas

Julie A. Huber Ph.D., Assistant Scientist, Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution, Microbial ecology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents

Elizabeth Jonas M.D., Associate Professor, Neurobiology & Internal Medicine, Yale University, Molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating the function of the squid giant synapse

Alan Kuzirian Ph.D., Associate Scientist, Marine Resources Center, MBL, Cellular & molecular mechanisms of learning in Mollusks

Scott Lindell, Director of the Scientific Aquaculture Program, MBL, Applied science of cultured marine organisms

Robert Paul Malchow Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Illinois – Chicago, Neuronal and glial cell function in the skate retina

Allen Mensinger Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biology, University of Minnesota – Duluth, Physiology and behavior of toadfish

Mark Messerli, Ph.D., Associate Scientist, Cellular Dynamics Program, MBL, Regulation of cell polarity, signaling and homeostasis through polarized ion transport

Shanta Messerli Ph.D., Assistant Research Scientist, Cellular Dynamics Program, MBL, Signalling pathways regulating cell division and cell differentiation

Gerardo Morfini Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Illinois – Chicago, Kinase-dependent signaling in neurons

Jennifer Morgan, Ph.D., Assistant Scientist, MBL; Synaptic Transmission, and Regeneration in the Central Nervous System

Enrico Nasi Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biology, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and Adjunct Senior Scientist, MBL, Regulation and signal transduction in invertebrate photoreceptors

Larry Rome Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Muscle physiology and behavior in the toadfish

Sid Tamm Ph.D., Adjunct Senior Scientist, Bell Center, MBL. Ciliary swimming behavior of comb jellies (ctenophores)

Jianwu Tang, Ph.D., Assistant Scientist, Ecosystems Center, MBL. Terrestrial ecology, biogeochemistry, and climate change impacts

David Mark Welch Ph.D., Assistant Scientist, Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution, MBL, Biochemical, genetic, and genomiciInvestigation of the evolution and ecology of sexual reproduction

Linda Amaral Zettler Ph.D., Assistant Scientist, Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution,Ecology and physiology of extremophiles