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.

 

  • Ray Looney in the field

    Research Spotlight: Raymond Looney

    Raymond Looney’s summer break began with a trip to Townsville, Australia, to attend the 5th International Symposium on Ranaviruses, a genus of viruses that are infectious to amphibians and reptiles. The experts he met at the three-day symposium gave him valuable feedback on his summer research project, which investigates whether the Canada Goose might be a vector for the spread of ranaviruses in the northeast.

    “I’d never been outside the U.S., so it was awesome to visit another country and talk with experts from around the world about my research interests,” he said. Another awesome thing about the trip: his travel was paid for in part by the UVM Suiter grant and an NSF funded travel grant. Likewise, Looney’s summer research project is supported by a Simon Family Public Research Fellowship. “I’m really grateful for the support,” Looney said. “The fellowship allows me to live in Burlington this summer and pay for living and research expenses.”

    He discovered his academic path at UVM when he took Ecology and Evolution, a course taught by Biology Professor Nicholas Gotelli who is advising Looney’s project.

    This summer, Looney is travelling to sites all around Vermont with researchers from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department who are banding Canadian Geese found on freshwater lakes and ponds. Before releasing the birds, Looney swabs them for signs of viruses.

    Read more of Ray's story.

    Ranavirus is believed to have caused several recent mortality events in amphibian populations. Looney is interested in building an outreach program through the Fish and Wildlife Department educating boat owners and researchers about ways to minimize spread, like cleaning their boats and gear.

    Looney says no current research points to birds as carriers, but waterfowl, because of their proximity to fish, amphibian, and reptile populations, could be a vector. He notes that ranavirus is found in the water and has the ability to be picked up by the feathers.

    “The virus can survive anywhere its moist and warm,” he said. “The oil glands birds have near the base of their tails may help preserve the virus.”

    When the banding season is over, Looney will spend his time in the lab analyzing samples. He sees this as a long-term project—he’s been accepted into the UVM accelerated masters in biology program which will allow him to earn a graduate degree one year after receiving his B.S. His current research will serve as the foundation of his graduate thesis.

     

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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.