B&W Undergraduate Research

Faculty in the Biology and Wildlife Department firmly believe that research is a key component of an undergraduate education in biological sciences. Research provides students with the opportunity to pursue their own interests in biology while gaining invaluable hands-on experience, preparing them for their future careers in biology. Students work along side their professors and graduate students learning cutting-edge techniques in fields ranging from the ecology of the Arctic to the molecular biology of viruses.

How do you get involved with research?

Once you've completed the introductory courses in biology and chemistry (BIOL 115/116 and CHEM 105/106) you are ready for working in a lab or on a field-based research project! The first step towards finding the most appropriate mentor for your research project is to talk with your advisor about your research interests. He or she can help you contact the appropriate faculty member who can guide you in developing a research project tailored to meet your interests. There are multiple ways that you can become involved in research: you can volunteer, earn course credit (BIOL 497), or become employed as a research assistant. Research projects may last a single semester or multiple years. There are several programs at UAF that provide financial support for student researchers, including those listed below. Ready to get involved in research NOW? Check out the listing below to see possible research opportunities at UAF and other universities. You can also visit the UA Careers Site and click on "Student Employee" or "Temporary" work types to find a position as a paid research assistant.


Cell biology - opportunities to work on one of the projects listed below. Funding may be available. Contact Andrej Podlutsky, apodlutsky@alaska.edu.

  • Hibernation and DNA repair
  • DNA in virally-infected cells
  • DNA repair in cancer cell lines
  • Gene-specific DNA repair

Environmental microbiology - opportunities to study the biodegradation of petroleum and other contaminants in marine and terrestrial environments. Involves lab research (e.g.nculturing, incubations, DNA sequencing, analytical chemistry) with opportunities for occasional field work. Contact Mary Beth Leigh, mbleigh@alaska.edu.

Museum entomology - opportunities to work (10-20h/wk) or volunteer (1-2h/wk) as a lab technician preparing, sorting, identifying, and curating insect specimens for various projects. Contact Derek Sikes, dssikes@alaska.edu.

Plant taxonomy - Contribute to the development of the new Flora of Alaska. Help with taxonomic detective work, data curation, and gain skills in biodiversity informatics. Contact Steffi Ickert-Bond, smickertbond@alaska.edu.

Landscape ecology - Mapping and digital analysis of sensitive animal populations - Contact Falk Huettmann fhuettmann@alaska.edu

Field ecology - opportunities available to study insect-plant interactions in the Fairbanks area, primarily in summer. Contact Diane Wagner, diane.wagner@alaska.edu.