CLEMSON — Clemson University has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to train, inspire and empower young scientists to pursue research careers in the biological sciences.

Victoria Corbin, associate professor in the department of biological sciences and director of the Clemson University Life Sciences Outreach Center, and Michael Sears, associate professor in the department of biological sciences, have been awarded a $335,157, three-year grant to bring bright scientific minds from southeastern colleges and universities to Clemson labs.

“The program will give students the opportunity to do what scientists like to do best: ask questions, design and carry out experiments, interpret results and communicate findings,” said Corbin, who is the grant’s principal investigator. Sears is co-principal investigator.

During the summers from 2016 through 2018, a total of 30 students in their first or second year of university study will be selected to come to Clemson to participate in the program called “Genomes to Phenomes.” Students will be paired with faculty members and lab groups from a range of disciplines in the departments of biological sciences and genetics and biochemistry.

The program offers a collegial, multi-disciplinary environment with a focus on an emerging challenge in biology — the need to understand how an organism’s phenotype (e.g., its morphology, reproductive success and behavior) is influenced by the interplay of its genes and its environment.

Students will learn how research is conducted and many will present the results of their work at scientific conferences. The program will include professional development activities designed to build the students’ research skills, written and oral communication skills, self-confidence and appreciation of the scientific endeavor.

Michael Sears and Victoria Corbin, Associate Professors in the Department of Biological Sciences

Michael Sears and Victoria Corbin, Associate Professors in the Department of Biological Sciences
Image Credit: Susan Benson

Students who have completed one or two years of college will be recruited through the program’s website, through visits to their colleges and faculty-to-faculty communication. Students will be selected based on their research interests, academic records and potential to carry out outstanding research in ecological genetics and related fields. A selection committee together with program faculty will select applicants for the program.

For more information about the program contact Vicki Corbin at vcorbin@clemson.edu, or Michael Sears at sears3@clemson.edu.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1460895. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.