Venture - Undergraduate Research Database

Molecular and computational ideas to understand plant form and function

This project involves understanding how flowering is initiated in apple trees and how apple fruit accumulates its color.

The use of plants for food, materials, aesthetics and fuel has relied mostly on plant forms and architectures designed by nature through thousands to millions of years of evolution. However, we have increasing abilities to engineer novel plant designs, both in the lab and in the field. This will result in plants that are much more useful for horticulture in the 21st century and beyond, for purposes like production of food in controlled environments, production of biofuels in an environmentally and socially conscious manner, growing crops with less resource use, pharming, and better integration of plants into urban environments. All this requires identification of genes that influence plant form, and understanding how these genes are controlled, both endogenously and by the environment.

This project involves understanding how flowering is initiated in apple trees and how apple fruit accumulates its color. Typical lab work including washing dishes, organizing, inventory, processing plant materials. Molecular work such as PCR, electrophoresis, preparation of DNA and RNA. Computational work on MacOSx with Unix, coding in Python, Excel, web resources; management and manipulation of large datasets. Independent project a possibility.


Sophomore or junior. Creative and critical thinking a must. Strong logical and problem-solving skills. No previous work in lab or computer required. 10 h/wk, 1-3 credits possible.

Project Coordinator

Steve Van Nocker ( vannocke )
Posted: 18-11-25
Compensation: 1 Credits
Start Date: 19-01-14
End Date: 20-05-10

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Newest Research Opportunities

Opportunity to work on neural organoids for the study of traumatic brain injury

The Aguirre Lab is looking for a motivated and skilled research assistant to study the biochemical and biophysical mechanisms of traumatic brain injury.
Posted: 19-03-11
Compensation: For Credit
Start Date: 19-03-11
End Date: 19-11-01

Evaluating an Enhanced Curriculum for Improving Children’s Self-Regulation

Our team will be evaluating the newly updated High/Scope curriculum with preschoolers in Detroit to help us understand how the curriculum might support children to develop self-regulation skills. We will also collect teacher and parent data.
Posted: 19-03-06
Compensation: For Credit
Start Date: 19-03-06
End Date: 19-06-01

Earthquake identification and location

We aim at accurately and efficiently identifying and locating earthquakes using machine learning and big seismic data. Our goal is to better characterize earthquake spatial distribution and better predict future earthquake locations.
Posted: 18-12-25
Start Date: 18-12-25
End Date: 19-05-12

Questions? Contact the Undergraduate Research Office at 517-355-7635 or
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