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Research Opportunities

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Research Opportunities & Creating New Knowledge to Share with the World

An important advantage of the Biology Program at Clarkson is the emphasis on undergraduate research. Research projects within the Biology Department are cutting edge and students are encouraged to actively participate. The Symposia for Undergraduate Research in the spring and summer provide students with an opportunity to present their research to faculty and their peers.

Undergraduate research at Clarkson is supported by a variety of programs including the Honors Program, the McNair Scholars Research Program, the K-12 Project-Based Learning Partnership Program, and Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) in Environmental Science and Engineering. 

Faculty research interests include: developmental biology of the digestive system, analysis and determination of protein structure, the role of viruses in human cancer, conservation biology, behavioral ecology, microbial ecology, heavy metals and aquatic ecology, measurement of environmental and industrial exposure to air pollutants, and human neurophysiology.

Graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) are available. Faculty also work closely with undergraduates, and students make an important contribution. Biology majors have the opportunity to continue their research during the summer, and many have also obtained summer internships at leading universities and industries.

Undergraduate/Senior Thesis
This program provides an opportunity for you to work on a research problem with a member of the biology faculty. You will be expected to design experiments in consultation with your faculty advisor, and to perform and evaluate the results of these experiments. You will prepare a thesis describing the results of your research, and to present the results to biology faculty and students at the annual Clarkson Symposium for Undergraduate Research in the spring.

The senior thesis can be a valuable experience. It will give you some appreciation of what biological research involves and illustrate how various skills can be used to solve real problems. Senior thesis work can be particularly helpful if you plan to enter professional or graduate school after you graduate from Clarkson.

If you select Senior Thesis you will be expected to register for BY491 (6 credits in the fall semester) and BY492 (6 credits in the spring semester). If the research project is longer in duration, it is possible to register for BY491 for 3 or 4 consecutive semesters (total of 12 credits).

For additional details see detailed requirements for the Senior Thesis.

Examples of recent undergraduate research projects include: 

  • Dan Stevens, '09', "Effects of EGF-R Inhibition on Cervical Cell Gene Expresion"
  • Kelsie Timbie, ‘10' "Developing a Biosensor for Cervical Cancer"
  • Gillian Roach, ‘10' Identification of defects in enteric neural development due to flotte latte mutants"
  • Michael Diehl, ‘10' Development of serotonin enteroendocrine cells in the zebrafish intestine"
  • Robyn Ruggaber, ‘10' "Assessment of snow dump as a source of salt contamination on the Raquette River"
  • Eric Marcy ‘10' "Comparison of Comparison of amphibian and reptile diversity at natural and restored wetlands
  • Francis Moore ‘10', Travis Walrath ‘10' and Bridget Murray ‘10', Diet choice under risk by black-capped chickadees
  • Bethann Parmlee ‘10', Growing algae for biofuel on landfill leachate

Clarkson Biology majors become authors on a wide variety of research publications


"I performed research on the intestinal development of zebrafish, which can be applied to human development. My research has helped to direct my career goals and given me the skills and confidence that I need when I leave Clarkson to work in a professional lab."

- Tasha Olden '08, biology major