Undergraduate researchers geared for insect collection

Undergraduate researchers from the Biology Department's Lockwood lab prepare to gather moths in the field.

Getting involved in a biologically-focused research project is practical experience that can't be beat.  Here are a few avenues to take you there:

UVM Undergraduate Research

UVM’s science faculty are both professors AND professional researchers – this benefits you!  Any UVM student can pursue research credit in any affiliated College or Program within UVM.  Biological Science majors can apply up to 6 credits of biologically-related research to their advanced life-science elective requirement.  Levels of involvement include apprenticing, participating in the faculty member's (or their graduate student's) research, or developing a research project of your own.  Peruse faculty research interests below.

UVM's Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research advises students in finding faculty to work with, as well as how to contact these faculty members. They also have various funding opportunities for research expenses, summer support, and travel grants for research conferences.  

Links to departmental Research pages:

UVM Life Science Faculty accepting Undergraduate Researchers for Summer/Fall 2023

The following faculty may invite an undergraduate researcher to join their lab next semester if the student's interests and abilities align with the lab's projects.  Interested students should contact the faculty to discuss this possibility. Faculty not on this list may also accept suitable students.  If you've found a faculty member to work with, contact Dr. Bryan Ballif (Bryan.Ballif@uvm.edu), the current biology department Research Coordinator, to set up credit.

Research LabDepartmentFaculty ContactProject Notes
Nelson Lab

Dr. Amreen Mughal


1 opening Summer through Fall: neuroscience major of Sophomore or Junior standing; to be research assistant to Dr. Mughal full time in the summer, and can start during Spring semester full or part time if desired.
Von Wettberg Lab Plant & Soil Sciences

Dr. Eric Bishop von Wettberg


2 openings for Fall, any level, Junior preferred:

  1. Perennial grain trial that is a part of a 8 university NSF New Roots for Restoration Biology Integration Institute.  Duties will involve collecting phenology and leaf size data and caring for plots. 
  2. Harvesting an Abenaki agriculture trial, where we are establishing experimental 3 sisters plots to look at how genotype environment and management interact to impact bean nutritional profiles.  This is part of a Food systems research center grant from USDA.
Etter LabNutrition & Food Sciences

Dr. Andrea Etter


1-2 openings for Fall, any level, two semester commitment preferred: 

  1. Salmonella and Campylobacter prevalence and ecology on agritourism operations (help w/sampling, enrich/culture samples for pathogens, PCR confirm)
  2. Salmonella and Campylobacter prevalence in agriculture supply store chicks and backyard chicken flocks (enrich/culture samples for pathogens, PCR confirm).
Nunez Lab


(new faculty!)

Dr. Joaquin Nunez


2 openings for Fall:

  1. Beginner level: Untangling settlement dynamics of the northern acorn barnacle.  The student will advance knowledge by quantifying the timing of metamorphosis across a cohort sample of barnacles collected from RI in 2019. The central questions underlying this project are to understand the ecological processes that drive the formation of ecological communities in intertidal ecosystems. This project requires patience, determination, and the use of microscopes.  
  2. Intermediate level: Characterizing the frequencies of mutations at the metabolic gene Mannose-6-phosphate isomerase in barnacles.  The overarching goal of this project is to better understand the genes that underlie thermal adaptation in the wild.  This project requires patience, determination, and the use of PCR techniques and DNA extraction.

Reading primary literature and attending lab meetings will be required of all student researchers.

Nunez /Lockwood LabsBiology

Dr. Joaquin Nunez


and Dr. Brent Lockwood


1 opening for Fall:

Advanced level research opportunity (Juniors preferred).  The project seeks to characterize embryonic thermal tolerance in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster carrying different chromosomal inversions. This intensive project requires a minimum commitment of 10 hours per week. Other responsibilities include fruit fly husbandry, reading primary literature, and attending lab meetings.

Vermont Biomedical Research Network (VBRN) Proteomics FacilityBiology

Dr. Wai Lam


2 openings for Fall, any level:

Research/Internship opportunities are available at the VBRN Proteomics Facility, where we use state-of-the-art mass spectrometry-based proteomics approaches to address biological/biomedical questions in a highly collaborative industry-like academic environment.   Interested students of any class standing who are willing to commit a minimum of 80 hrs /semester are encouraged to contact Dr. Lam or stop by the lab for a visit (Firestone Medical Research Building 143).  Details

UVM Immunofoundry (biolab.dev)Surgery / CMB

Dev Majumdar, Ph.D.


The Majumdar lab works on next generation mRNA therapeutics, next generation serology techniques, and SARS-CoV-2. The first term in the lab will involve assisting other projects and gaining experience with techniques at 10h/week; meeting attendance required for first term (12pm-1:30pm Wednesdays). Openings limited to Freshman/Sophomore students planning to pursue self-directed project at 12-15h/week for subsequent terms, leading to a senior thesis (15-20h/week). Students may work on any project in engineering immunity/SARS/mRNA therapeutics they would like to, and will be given a project which they will ultimately lead.


Outside Opportunities

Finding a summer internship or job associated with a research project is a great way to gain field or lab experience.  University researchers as well as state, local, and federal government agencies need many hands during the field season.  Peruse these job lists for an opportunity near your home town - or far from it!

The National Science Foundation funds hundreds of Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) each year, which are paid, housing-provided summer opportunities with a sponsoring University, to participate in the active research of one of their faculty members.  With guidance, REU students will typically conduct an individual research project that will be completed over the course of the summer.   

Undergraduate Research Opportunities List: A collection of nation- and world-wide internship, REU, job, and field course opportunities in biological science research, geared toward undergraduate students.  Some opportunities may be eligible for college credit.  Opportunities primarily posted from the ECOLOG listserv from the Ecological Society of America.


Earning Credit for Internships

UVM students can earn credits for qualifying internship experiences completed outside of UVM, whether during the academic year or in Summer.  These are organized through a student's college or department: College of Arts & Sciences (www.uvm.edu/cas/arts-sciences-internship-courses), College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (www.uvm.edu/cals/internships-cals), Rubenstein School for the Environment & Natural Resources (www.uvm.edu/rsenr/rsenr_internship_program). 

Summer interns in the Burlington area may be able to live on campus (www.uvm.edu/eventservices/intern-housing).

student with research poster

Scholarships for Undergraduate Researchers


Find internships that match your interests and career goals through your college: CAS or CALS, the UVM Career Center, or talk to your faculty advisor.  New Communities of Practice mentored group internships are being offered through CAS.

The Biology Department has a designated Internship Advisor: Dr. Bryan Ballif.  

Vermont EPSCoR also offers BREE internships doing Lake Champlain research.

First-Year Life Science Scholars

Incoming first-year students can apply for the College of Arts & Sciences Life Science Scholars program, a living-learning experience that includes undergraduate research on a biological topic of the students' choice.

research lab