Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Research is the primary mechanism for the discovery and
accumulation of new information. Undergraduate
students in our lab work with graduate students and the PI
to develop their own project of original research.
Students conducting research attend weekly lab meetings
and engage in lab activities. Completed studies are
published as parts of larger projects or completely on
NSF REU Opportunities - Summer 2016
NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Plant
Ecology and Genomics
We are looking for two enthusiastic students interested
in enhancing their research skills and experience in plant
ecology, genomics, and bioinformatics in the Cruzan lab at
Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.
Successful applicants will become part of a research team
working on dispersal and gene flow in upland prairie
plants in Oregon and Washington under pressure from
climate change. Dispersal is critical for colonization,
gene flow, and range expansion – it is one of the most
important but least understood aspects of the ecology of
plants. Our research utilizes genomic techniques to detect
the effects of dispersal over different spatial scales.
This is an integrative research program that includes
field work, wet lab preparation of genomic DNA for
next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics processing of
sequence data, and analysis of patterns of gene flow using
GIS and landscape genetic methods. Students will be
exposed to a wide range of methods and are expected to
develop an independent research project within the scope
of the larger research program.
Students will be fully supported for 10 to 12 weeks
during the summer of 2016. Funding is provided from an REU
supplement to our National Science Foundation Macrosystems
Biology grant. Housing will be provided on campus along
with a daily allowance for food and a $500 weekly stipend.
The start of the REU is negotiable with optimal start
dates between May 1 and June 17.
To apply please email us an updated copy of your CV
(including GPA) and a short (one page) statement of your
research interests and experience, as well as goals for
your education and career. Students with experience in
computer programming and/or bioinformatics are encouraged
to apply. Application deadline is 29 February 2016. Feel
free to email us with questions.
Pam Thompson, Postdoctoral Research Associate:
Mitch Cruzan, Principle Investigator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Experiences for PSU Undergraduates
Is research a good choice for me?
It's a big commitment to become engaged in a research
project. Here are some of the things you should
- It takes a lot of time - Successful undergraduates work an average of ten hours per week for a year or more.
- It takes a lot of effort - Your classes come first, so
consider whether you will have the time to commit to
research and still keep up with your studies.
Undergraduate research engagement is recommended for
students with greater than 3.0 GPA.
- Don't wait too long - It's best to start looking for a lab to work in during your sophomore or junior year. If you are already a senior it may not be too late as long as you plan to commit to continue your project after graduation.
What do I get in return for all that work?
- This may be the best experience of your undergraduate career - The rewards of conducting original research are enormous. It is something you will remember for the rest of your life.
- If you are thinking of applying to graduate school, engaging in undergraduate research can be the key to a successful graduate career. Research experience will bolster your applications and your mentors will be able to write much stronger letters for you.
- Biology research credit (Bi401). You can apply up to 6 credits to your graduation requirements.
Honors Thesis - is a great option for students
starting research during their junior year.
Some examples of published undergraduate research (undergrad student is underlined):
Marchini, M.L, N. Cole Sherlock, A.P. Ramakrishnan, D.M. Rosenthal, and M.B. Cruzan. 2016. Rapid purging of genetic load in a metapopulation and consequences for range expansion in an invasive plant. Biological Invasions 18:183-196. (doi: 10.1007/s10530-015-1001-5)
Taylor, L. A. V., E. A. Hasenkopf, and M. B. Cruzan. 2015. Barriers to invasive infilling by Brachypodium sylvaticum in Pacific Northwest forests. Biological Invasions 17:2247-2260. (doi:10.1007/s10530-015-0871-x).
Cheeke, T. E., B. A. Pace, T. N.
Rosenstiel, and M. B. Cruzan. 2010. The influence of
fertilizer level and spore density on arbuscular
mycorrhizal colonization of transgenic Bt 11 maize (Zea
mays) in experimental microcosms. Fems Microbiology
Ramakrishnan, A. P., T. Musial, and M. B.
Cruzan. 2010. Shifting dispersal modes at an expanding
species’ range margin. Molecular Ecology 19:1134-1146.
Baucom, R. S., J. C. Estill, and M. B. Cruzan. 2005. The effect of deforestation on the genetic diversity and structure in Acer saccharum (Marsh): Evidence for the loss and restructuring of genetic variation in a natural system. Conservation Genetics 6:39-50.
Handy, S. M., K. McBreen, and M. B. Cruzan. 2004. Patterns of fitness and fluctuating asymmetry across a broad hybrid zone. Int. J. Plant Sci. 165:973-981.
Morris, A. B., R. Baucom, and M. B. Cruzan. 2002. Stratified analysis of the soil seed bank in the cedar glade endemic, Astragalus bibullatus: Evidence for historical changes in genetic structure. Am. J. Bot. 89:29-36.
Where are they now?
Samantha Hopkins - Assistant Professor of Paleontology, University or Oregon
Regina Baucom - Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Michigan
Matt Heard - Assistant Professor of Biology, Winthrop University.
Chuck Price - Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Western Australia
Sara Handy - Research Scientist, US FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Allison Fortner - Research Scientist, Oak Ridge National Lab
Bryan Benz - Forest Service Botanist, Umpqua National Forest
Kristin Anton - Science Teacher, Traverse City Area Public Schools
Paul Sochacki - Technician/ Statistical Consultant, OHSU Pathology Core Lab
Heather Machado - PhD Candidate, Stanford University
Trieste Musial - PhD Candidate, Emory University
Jennifer Lawson - Environmental Assessment Crew Manager
Brian Pace - Masters Candidate, the Ohio State University
Ann Rasmussen - PhD Candidate, University of Mississippi