student researcher

If you are pursuing a major or minor within the biology department, you can take biology research courses. In these courses, you may work with any faculty member on campus, and in some cases, off-campus. All Biology research courses must involve biology research! Consider focusing on a topic covered in your BCOR 11 & 12 courses.

List of biology research courses

  • BIOL 098 credits count toward the total 120 needed for graduation, but not toward a biology or zoology major (BS or BA) or minor
  • Biology BS major: Up to 6 credits of undergraduate research in any biological discipline may be applied toward the 26 credits of advanced electives. Only three of these can be taken for credit at the 100-level, and these will be counted in the 8 credits allowed at the 100-level.
  • Biology BA major: Research credits do not count toward the three 200-level biology electives.
  • Zoology BS major: Up to 6 credits of undergraduate research (BIOL 198, 298, or HON 208) count toward the 27 credits of advanced electives. Only 3 can be taken for credit at the 100-level, and these will be counted in the 8 credits allowed at the 100-level.
  • Zoology BA major: Research credits do not count toward the 15 credits of BIOL electives.
  • Zoology or Biology minor - Up to 3 credits of undergraduate research in BIOL 198, 298 or HON 208 may be applied toward the minor.

 

  • Hailey Cray

    Undergrad research a key to medical career

    Hailey Cray ’20 made profound connections with several different communities at the University of Vermont during her academic career, including the biology and women’s and gender studies departments, UVM’s Graduate School, and the Larner College of Medicine. She graduates this May with a B.A. in biology and is already halfway towards earning her master’s in public health at UVM. Now she’s preparing to begin a new job as a clinical research assistant at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass.

    Cray, a native of Ferrisburgh, Vt., initially had her sights set on a traditional medical school path. Today, she jokingly calls herself a “reformed pre-med student.”

    “When I first started at UVM I was pretty set on not going into research because I wanted to work with people,” she recalls. “It hadn’t occurred to me at the time that there’s a lot of research that focuses on people and their experiences.”

    Cray found a home in the gender, sexuality and women studies program, a discipline at UVM that draws from social sciences, physical sciences, and humanities perspectives. “The program was a way to explore the challenges faced by women and other marginalized populations,” she said. “It’s a really close community of students and professors.”

    Her interest in science and women’s studies came together through her Honors College thesis with co-investigator and advisor, Dr. Marjorie C. Meyer, who is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at the UVM Medical Center. (Cray notes that her connection with Meyer goes back to the very beginning—Meyer was the obstetrician who delivered Cray at Fletcher Allen Hospital).

    Cray’s project examines retention rates in medication-assisted therapy centers of Vermont among women who have an opioid use disorder and are pregnant, or are parenting young children. She finds that young mothers with a history of Opioid use are often unable to continue treatment.

    “These women face so many challenges through a lack of reliable housing, medical insurance and transportation. These problems can snowball, so we hope to find ways to improve retention in this particularly vulnerable population,” she notes.

    At McLean Hospital, her research will focus on a challenge many older patients contend with—Alzheimer’s disease. Cray is intrigued by promising drug trials the hospital is conducting.

    “The drug trials are pretty cool. They are experimenting with technology that patients and caregivers can both use to help monitor behaviors in patients with mild cognitive deficits.”

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BIO 098 Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship 1-18 credits

Students step into an ongoing research program, working under the supervision of a faculty mentor, but perhaps helping a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow. Students may take BIO 098 during any semester, from their first year through Senior year.

Students who are Biology/Biological Science/Zoology/A&S Environmental Sciences majors may work with either a Biology Department faculty member or a faculty member in another life science department.  Students who are not majors within the Biology Department must work with a Biology Department faculty member. Students can enroll for multiple semesters.

BIO 198 Undergraduate Research

Students work closely with an experienced researcher who will aid in the identification and conduct of an original project. Each credit requires a minimum of 40 hours. However, students put in even more time. Often students do not have prior research experience and step into an ongoing project, but are working independently by the end of the semester.

Students who are Biology/Biological Science/Zoology/A&S Environmental Sciences majors may work with either a Biology Department faculty member or a faculty member in another life science department.  Students who are not majors within the Biology Department must work with a Biology Department faculty member. Students can enroll for multiple semesters.

BIO 298 Advanced Undergraduate Research

Students work closely with an experienced researcher who will aid in the identification and conduct of an original research project. Each credit requires a minimum of 40 hours. However, students typically put in even more time. Often students have prior research experience and are working at an advanced level having already taken Undergraduate Research (BIOL 098 or BIOL 198), or have had a few 200-level Biology courses, at least one with laboratory.

Students who are Biology/Biological Science/Zoology/A&S Environmental Sciences majors may work with either a Biology Department faculty member or a faculty member in another life science department.  Students who are not majors within the Biology Department must work with a Biology Department faculty member. Students can enroll for multiple semesters.

 

 

Finding a Research Sponsor

Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Research, an excellent resource in helping students locate a lab. Also, consider talking to instructors you've had, especially graduate student lab instructors. Also, ask your friends who have worked, or are working in labs. Get more information on faculty research interests.

When you approach a faculty member about the possibility of doing research in their laboratories, it's a good idea for you to read about their work before contacting them. Start with the information found on their websites, and even try to read one or more of their scientific papers. After this, contact the faculty member expressing your interest in the research. Before the meeting, think of how you would answer the faculty member if you were posed the question, “What specifically about my work interests you the most?” If things go well you could ask the faculty member if there might be a position in the lab in order for you to participate in a research project.

Still Have Questions?

Contact Dr. Lori Stevens (Lori.Stevens@uvm.edu),  UVM Department of Biology Undergraduate Research Director.