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Genome 2 Phenome

What is the ambitious goal of this project?

Join this multi-disciplinary team to study the effect of climate change on northwestern US ecosystems.

Two men outside are putting a bag over a sagebrush to collect a sample.

Experience Gained

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.

Broad skills students may gain from this course include:

  • Review literature and design research proposal.
  • Field and greenhouse experience.
  • Basic laboratory practices (e.g. pipetting, safety).
  • Practice communicating scientific results to peers.

Students would also receive specific skills through 3 modules:

• Utilizing a complex database system to manage greenhouse experiment.
• Maintaining a greenhouse common garden.
• Designing comparative GxE experiments to isolate genes involved in adaptation.
• Taking quantitative measurements (i.e. IR imaging, chlorophyll fluorescence, imaging seedlings).
• RNA/DNA extractions.
• In vitro plant culture.
• Designing controlled laboratory experiments for gene expression analyses.
• Data management.
• Computer programming in R and UNIX-based systems (Linux) geared towards analyzing genomic data.
• Developing bioinformatic pipelines designed to be executed on clusters.
• Analyzing next-generation sequencing data to assemble and annotate transcriptomes.

Methodologies and/or Technologies used to achieve project goals:

  • coding and coding software
  • laboratory testing
  • qualitative research methods
  • quantitative research methods
  • writing

Majors and Interests Needed

Biological Sciences, Biomolecular PhD Program, Computer Science

VIP Coach Information

Dr. Sven Buerki Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences


Course Information

Full semester course.
Choose to enroll in 1 or 2 credits in VIP 200, VIP 400, or VIP 500
Team meetings TBD by participants.

Want to join the team?

For more information about this project and to request a permission number to register contact Dr. Buerki at OR complete this interest form and someone will contact you.  Check out this document for tips on contact a professor.

To register:  search by Subject: Vertically Integrated Projects, select correct section of VIP 200, 400, or 500. Use permission number, here are instructions