Life Sciences Undergraduate Summer Research Project

Applications are now open!

In this course you will pursue an independent research project in Life Sciences.

To join us for this course, you should be a student enrolled at another higher education institution, studying a Biological Science, ideally having completed two years of study already. You will have GPA of at least 3.0 (or equivalent). You should also have a proficiency in English (for example, IELTS level 6 with a score of no lower than 5.5 in any subtest).

Background knowledge of microbiological, molecular biology and microscopy techniques is desirable but not essential as training will be provided.

Students from Arcadia University and the University of Minnesota should apply via this webpage. 

2024 Research Projects

All projects will offer substantial opportunity for independent investigation. 

1. Mesophiles and Thermophiles in the Urban Environment.

The project will use conventional microbiological techniques to sample from a range of urban environments that present thermal challenge and seek out mesophilic and thermophilic organisms able to survive and grow in these conditions. The properties of these bacteria will be analysed and identification will be attempted by sequencing of the 16s rRNA gene. Students on the project will develop skills in microbiology and molecular biology, in addition the project will offer substantial opportunity for independent investigation.

2. Bacteria in Freshwater: A Historical Record of Past Pollution?

The aim of this project will be to characterize the bacteria of faecal origin in a local watercourse, to establish which indicator organisms are present, determine if any are pathogenic to humans, and then to attempt detection of bacteriophage. Students on the project will develop skills in environmental monitoring, microbiology and molecular biology.

3. Using Caenorhabditis elegans as a Model Organism for Genetic Screens

The aim of this project will be to establish an experimental system with C. elegans using a forward genetic approach. Using ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS), a mutagen that induces direct mutations in DNA, such as missense and nonsense mutations you will screen populations of C. elegans looking for any phenotypic changes that may be biologically interesting and attempt to further characterize the mutants. In addition, C. elegans is an excellent model organism for the study of addiction to compounds such as alcohol and caffeine, areas that can also be investigated during the project. Students on the project will develop skills including: genetic crossing using a model organism, independent experimental design and execution, critical thinking, data analysis and interpretation, time management, scientific writing and communication.

4. Genetic engineering for agriculture in a changing climate

One significant outcome of current climate change models is that agriculturally important species will become more susceptible to devastating diseases, leading to impacts on food supply. The aim of this project will be to investigate proteins involved in the spread of disease from cell to cell in plants. The student will conduct experiments which temporarily alter the expression levels or functions of relevant genes and proteins. The student will then investigate how different environmental conditions (temperature, light, water levels etc) affect cell to cell movement in combination with altered expression of the genes of interest. Students on the project will develop skills in experimental design, molecular biology, cell biology and fluorescence microscopy.

What you will learn

The aims of the course are to provide experience in the planning and execution of a short research project, data analysis and interpretation, the production of a written report and presenting and discussing research findings to staff and peers. 

By the end of this course, you will be able to: 

  • Propose a preliminary list of goals to be achieved during the project in collaboration with the project supervisor.
  • Critically appraise the literature related to the research project.
  • Apply research skills appropriate to the area of specialisation. 
  • Deliver a clear, well-constructed oral presentation describing your research to your peers. 
  • Compose a cogent, clear and concise report summarising their findings and the state of research in your chosen field.

Teaching pattern

Full time for 6 weeks, lab-based. 

Entry requirements

  • GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent). 
  • You should be currently enrolled at an international higher education institution.
  • you should be majoring in a Biological Science. 

If your first language is not English, you must meet our minimum proficiency level:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training) overall score of 6.0, with no sub test less than 5.5  (if English is not an applicant’s first language) and a GPA of not less than 3.0
  • We also accept equivalent scores in other recognised qualifications such as ibTOEFL, CAE, CPE and more.

This is a guide, for further information email