Overview: Why Apply?

Metagenomics is an increasingly important tool for understanding connections between human health and our environment. Advancing our commitment to provide hands-on training to Virginia Tech undergraduates, the Biocomplexity Institute's Genomics Sequencing Center (GSC) is now offering a unique summer program designed to help undergraduate students get their start in this critical scientific field.

GRL faculty offer training on state-of-the-art equipment.

Pursue your passion. Our students will spend Summer Session I receiving hands-on training in the fundamentals of metagenomics research, including experimental design, sample preparation, genomic sequencing, and bioinformatics analysis. With these basic principles established, students will be free to pursue independent research projects, providing an opportunity to explore the areas of metagenomics that most interest them.

Join our research team. Our students work in cross-disciplinary teams, closely supported by our expert faculty. Your colleagues and mentors will be thought leaders in genomics, bioinformatics, and systems biology. This collaborative environment provides excellent preparation for a future career in any scientific research organization. 

Train with top-tier technology. Our laboratory is located in the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech, home to one of the university's most advanced high-performance computing facilities. The GSC itself is outfitted with a full range of Sanger and Next-Generation Sequencing systems, allowing students to train with the best, industry-standard technology.

Program Structure: Opportunities and Resources

high-performance computing facilities

Metagenomics Program Structure

  • Twelve weeks from May 21 to August 10, 2018
  • Team research with dedicated faculty and fellow student-researchers
  • Individualized mentors working closely with students
  • Professional training with cutting-edge sequencing systems 
  • Support for students to pursue independent research projects

Potential Independent Research Topics​

The Summer Session II will be spent pursuing independent research projects. Some examples of recent studies in metagenomics include:

  • Sequencing the microbiome of water ecosystems to investigate the effects of long-term exposure to lead.
  • Investigating the role of adaptive immunity on mouse distal gut microbiota to discern associations between age, intestinal location and immunological status.  
  • Sequencing the gut microbiome in a neonatal pig model, which was transplanted with human infant gut microbiota, to study effectiveness of probiotic interventions.
  • Studying root-zone bacterial and fungal communities in invaded and non-invaded plant samples. 

Apply Now: Process & Requirements

To apply for the Environmental Genomics and Informatics Program, you must complete the following steps:

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Dr. Shernita Lee at shernita@bi.vt.edu or (540) 231-7531.

Application Requirements

Participants will be expected to meet the following requirements:

  • Demonstrate an academic background in some area of the life sciences, engineering, or physical sciences
  • Display necessary qualities for working both independently and within a diverse team structure: high motivation, good communication skills, and strong work ethic
  • Enroll in the following courses for Summer Sessions I and II. 

Summer I

  • UH 4504: Honors Discovery and Innovation Studio (3 credits)
  • UH 4994: Honors Undergraduate Research (3 credits)

Summer II

  • UH 4504: Honors Discovery and Innovation Studio (3 credits)
  • UH 4994: Honors Undergraduate Research (3 credits)

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