The focus of the internship is on research conducted in the maize genetics laboratory of Matthew Evans at the Carnegie Institution for Science on Stanford University campus. Interns will learn about plant reproductive biology and will conduct a research project in this area. Interns will also participate in the K-12 science education outreach efforts of the lab through workshops on curriculum development with the Science in Service Program at the Haas Center for Public Service, and will develop plant biology lesson plans for local schools. This research & education experience is for two undergraduates (rising sophomores, juniors, or seniors) and runs for 12 weeks during the summer.
Students are expected to work full-time during the summer (40 hours/week) and will receive a stipend of $6000.
Sponsored by the Carnegie Institution Department of Plant Biology Evans Maize Genetics Lab and Science in Service.
Research: Working in the Lab and Field
While the underlying cellular processes of fertilization appear similar in plants and animals, production of the sperm and egg cells is markedly different. In plants, the gametes are produced by the gametophytes, which in lower plants are free-living, multicellular individuals. However, in flowering plants, the gametophytes comprise just a few cells (for example, each pollen grain is one male gametophyte with three cells). Because of their evolutionary history, even flowering plant gametophytes are partially independent of their parents (the large trees, bushes, and flowers we recognize), producing many of the proteins necessary for their own viability. Although gametophytes are small and undergo few cell divisions, they are crucial for reproduction, as they produce gametes, control the fertilization process, and influence development of the seed.
An understanding of the genetic basis of gametophyte function will have important implications for agriculture, as gametophytes are central to plant reproduction. Using maize as a model system, we are focused on identifying the genes that are expressed in the male and female gametophytes and are particularly interested in those genes whose activity in the female gametophyte before fertilization are critical for seed development after fertilization. This 4-year project is supported by an award from the National Science Foundation, Plant Genome Research Program.
As an undergraduate working on this project, you will have the opportunity to learn about male and female gametophyte development in maize. Work on the project will include growing and pollinating corn in the field and greenhouse, DNA extraction and amplification by PCR, molecular cloning, and analyzing developing seeds and female gametes using confocal microscopy, as well as other cell and molecular biological techniques.
Working in the lab will give you experience designing and carrying out scientific experiments using a variety of techniques and equipment commonly used in modern biological research.
Carnegie Undergraduate Summer Program
As an intern in the Evans Lab, you will have the opportunity to interact with interns from Stanford and other institutions through the Carnegie Undergraduate Summer Program. This program includes a summer seminar series for undergraduates and an Undergraduate Student Research Symposium. During the summer, students gather for weekly meetings/seminars given by the plant biology faculty and present a poster describing their projects in the Undergraduate Research Symposium held at the end of the summer. Seminars typically involve informal presentations by faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and/or graduate students each followed by discussion.
At the summer research symposium, summer interns present posters or short talks about their research to the department.
This portion of the internship will give you insight into many types of research in different biological systems and give you experience presenting scientific principles to your peers and advisors.
Science Outreach: Curriculum Development and Science Mentoring
In collaboration with the Science in Service program at Stanford, you will work to translate your newly gained knowledge and skills as a scientist in the lab. This will involve developing a teaching module related to plant development, which will then be implemented by the Science in Service program at an after-school or in school program. This opportunity will give you experience in teaching, mentoring, and communicating scientific principles and skills to youth.
- Currently a freshman, sophomore or junior
- Participate in Science in Service as a mentor – past or upcoming spring quarter (contact Sarah Koik to learn about meeting this requirement in spring quarter) OR participated in another science education/outreach program
- Students are expected to work full-time during the summer (40 hours/week)
- Students will receive a stipend of $6000
The application for summer 2017 has closed. Please check back in the fall quarter for the application for summer 2018.
Sarah Koik, Science Education Program Director