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Vertically Integrated Projects – New


Vertically Integrated Projects logo

Experiential learning
that transcends
semesters and disciplines


Vertically Integrated Projects, or VIP, is a program at College of Innovation and Design that takes learning to a whole new level.  Students get real-world experience and earn credits over multiple semesters by working alongside faculty who are engaged in ambitious scholarship and creative activities. Teams are often interdisciplinary and all tackle real world challenges. Learn more about Vertically Integrated Projects here.

Register for a Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) course to earn credit for working alongside faculty pursuing ambitious research projects! All majors are welcome, there are no prerequisites, and there are opportunities for sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students.  Participate for multiple semesters for maximum reward. VIP credits can count toward your upper division biology credit requirement!

Active VIP Projects in Biology

Click the titles for full details and instructions on getting started.

Plasma is the fourth state of matter, an ionized gas containing ions, electrons, and neutral gas particles. Our group will study this new area of research by exploring the use of plasma for Medical, Agricultural, and Manufacturing Applications. VIP Coaches: Dr. Oxford (BIOL), Dr. Cornell (CHEM), Dr. Plumlee (ME), Dr. Jim Browning (ECE). Team meetings: Friday 2:00-4:00PM.

The goal of this project is to understand how biological systems innovate through the evolutionary process to make novel structures and functions. Our current focus utilizes data intensive DNA sequencing. VIP Coach: Dr. Eric Hayden, Microbiologist partnering with Physics faculty on microscopy.

Mapping and modeling ecosystem dynamics is a key part of natural resource management, from habitat restoration to wildlife conservation. Our team will develop new methods to forecast the success of ecological restoration in sagebrush steppe. We will conduct field work outside and in the computer lab, aimed towards research outcomes that can promote sustainable landscapes.

The goal of this project is to design and employ fluorescent and luminescent biomolecules in innovative ways. We are currently using molecular structure-based design and ensemble analysis to envision applications for these fluorescent biomolecules to detect viral RNA and RNA remodeling in human health.

Work with raptor conservation researchers to advance conservation of birds of prey around the world, implement the Global Raptor Impact Network and revolutionize how raptor science is conducted and disseminated around the world. VIP Coach: Chris McClure, Director of Global Conservation Science at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey.

Join this team to examine and educate others on how climate change, land use change and loss of biodiversity impacts ecosystems.  VIP Coach: Marie-Anne de Graaff, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Join this multi-disciplinary team to study the effect of climate change on northwestern US ecosystems. Students will contribute to study the effect of climate change on plants by investigating the contribution of genomic processes in underpinning phenotypes that are adapted to our rapidly changing environment. This will be done by performing genotype-environment experiments, conducting gene expression analyses and identifying candidate genes underpinning environmental adaptations. Each step will be supported by bioinformatic analyses. To broaden skills, students will receive targeted skills through 3 modules representing their scientific progression.

Conserving biodiversity in a changing world will require mathematical models to forecast ecological dynamics. The MIND VIP will provide students with hands-on experience conducting research that transcends disciplinary boundaries between mathematics and ecology. During this first semester, the MIND VIP will model spatial pattern formation using reaction-diffusion models. Our VIP will focus on reaction-diffusion equations in ecology and human-environment systems, including datasets related to sagebrush recovery after megafire, raptor population dynamics, and adoption of conservation practices by landowners.

Learn some of the molecular cloning and protein purification techniques that are essential steps to constructing new vaccines. In addition, students will learn “reverse vaccinology” methods to identify top priority vaccine candidates using bioinformatics.