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What is the ambitious goal of this project?

The goal of this project is to understand how biological systems innovate through the evolutionary process to make novel structures and functions. This knowledge will be applied to create new biological innovations in the lab. Our current focus is at the molecular level and utilizes data intensive DNA sequencing.

Eric Hayden and student in a lab

Experience Gained

Students will be trained in molecular biology needed to collect data, and/or the computational biology and bioinformatic skills required to analyze this data. Specific skills may include in vitro transcription/translation, molecular cloning, Illumina library preparation, high-throughput DNA sequence analysis, computer programming languages (Python, Matlab, R), and machine learning.

Majors or Interests Needed

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Data sequencing
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Business/Entrepreneurship
  • Art/Communication

VIP Coach Information

Dr. Eric Hayden is Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and runs the Hayden Lab. Full profile at

“The application of next generation sequencing technologies allows new insights into the process of evolution as it occurs in nature and the laboratory, and allows us to put theory to the experimental test. Recently, I have started a collaboration with Dr. Matt Ferguson (Physics) to conduct single-molecule fluorescence microscopy of RNA processing events inside living Eukaryotic cells. We are devising ways to produce never-before-seen footage of the inner mechanisms of Eukaryotic gene expression.”

Course Information

VIP  200, VIP 400, or VIP 500.
Full semester course. Choose to enroll in 1 or 2 credits.
Cross-listed with BIOL 479.
Team meetings TBD by participants.

Interested in joining this team?

For more information and to request a permission number to register contact Dr. Eric Hayden OR complete this interest form and someone will contact you. Check out this page for tips on contacting a professor.

To register:  search by Subject: Vertically Integrated Projects, read the project description to find the right section of VIP 200, 400, or 500. Use permission number, here are instructions Add with a permission number