UMass Amherst: Summer Programs

University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • $1218

  • July 10 2016

  • Rolling deadlines, apply soon when you're ready!

  • 9th - 12th

  • Yes


UMass Amherst: Summer Pre-College Programs The Clinical Psychology Research Intensive will occur under the mentorship of Dr. Rebecca Ready and her undergraduate and graduate research assistants. Dr. Ready is Director of Clinical Training and a clinical neuropsychologist with expertise in the assessment of emotion, life quality, and well-being in adult and aging populations.л_She conducts research on emotion regulation and thinking abilities in younger and older adults.л_She also is interested in the assessment of adult learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and sports related concussion. Previous research intensive students have won awards for their work in Dr. Ready_Сйs lab. The Ready lab can host 1-2 students. Sleep is composed of multiple different brain states, each of which is associated with distinct cognitive functions. During this 6-week intensive laboratory training, students will be trained in cognitive neuroscience techniques such as EEG and behavioral testing. The Spencer Lab can host up to 5 students. The Infant Cognition Lab at UMass Amherst, directed by Dr. Erik Cheries, studies how infants perceive and think about the world around them. We use a variety of behavioral methods to investigate early knowledge, such as measuring infants' looking time to various scenes, and observing their reaching/crawling choices in simple experimental games. We are currently examining questions related to infants' moral reasoning and their ability to think about the actions and intentions of other people. Student interns will gain experience in all aspects of our research, including recruiting families to participate in our studies, constructing experimental stimuli, conducting experiment sessions with babies and their parents, coding and interpreting data, and attending weekly lab meetings when we discuss recent findings from our lab and the greater field. Together these experiences provide students with an engaging introduction to an exciting area of research area within Developmental Psychology. The Cheries lab can host 2 students. In highly human-modified environments, never before seen combinations of species exist, as in highly invaded forest fragments in the _СЙsuburban wilds._Сй But what is the conservation potential of these urban-suburban green spaces? And how should they be managed to maximize their value for critical taxa like migratory birds? Research in the Warren lab seeks to understand processes generating and maintaining biological diversity in a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by humans. Students will participate in a study on bird abundance and nesting success in Amherst conservation areas. The research involves maintaining trail cameras put out for surveying nest predators, assisting with searching for bird nests, and checking bird nests to establish if they are active or have been depredated or parasitized by cowbirds. In addition, students may assist with collecting and processing samples of leaf litter and arthropods in the lab and surveys for fruiting plants in the field. Students should be prepared to be outdoors in the early mornings (around sunrise) and be comfortable walking off of trail in woodlands. We are looking to engage students interested in animal behavior, conservation or ecology, who have good observation skills, are able to make careful observations, and can record them accurately. The Warren lab can host up to 2 students. This six week program provides hands-on experimental experience with versatile two dimensional (2D) crystals. These crystals are one or a few atoms thick, and they exhibit amazing properties not seen in their three dimensional counterparts. The most well-known 2D crystal is graphene, as was highlighted by the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. This summer program will offer extensive training for students to make, observe and experiment with graphene as well as other types of 2D crystals, such as transition metal dichalcogenides. The Yan lab can host 2 students. The current epidemic of obesity cannot be explained completely by the dietary, social and/or behavioral changes that have occurred over the past several decades. In addition, there seems to be limited success in controlling obesity and type 2 diabetes incidences even with considerable efforts to modify dietary patterns and encourage the public to increase physical activity. Simultaneously, there are emerging evidences that persistent organic pollutants are linked to excessive weight gain and altered glucose homeostasis. With this background, the current focuses of research are [1] discovering food bioactives that can help prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes and [2] determining the potential causative environmental chemicals for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Potential projects involve determining the biochemical mechanisms of insecticides and food bioactives on altered lipid and glucose metabolisms using Caenorhabditis elegans model. Caenorhabditis elegans is a nematode, eukaryotic, multi-organ animal model, which is increasingly utilized for biological and medical studies including areas in obesity research. This is a useful model over other in vitro tissue culture and rodent animal models. The Park lab can host 2 students. Food contamination problems have become globalized and are the causes of many health problems and economic losses. There is an increasing need for rapid detection of food contaminants (chemicals and microbes) in foods, as traditional detection methods such as plating for microbes and chromatography for chemicals are usually time-consuming. We develop various nanotechnology based methods for rapid detection of pesticides, antibiotics, melamine, pathogens, and other chemical and biological contaminates in foods. These projects are supported by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The He lab can host 1 to 2 students. This research experience in the Karlstrom Lab will include working with zebrafish as a genetic and embryological model system to examine nervous system development, growth, and possibly responses to injury. The student will work with current lab member to examine 1) where a specific subset of newly identified cells connect in the brain, or 2) how a signaling molecule affects the proliferation of neural stem cell populations. These projects are designed to provide the student with exposure to the study of nervous system development and neural stem cell regulation. Stem cell proliferation is a highly regulated process that is needed for tissue growth and for repair after injury. Unlike humans, the zebrafish brain and spinal cord have amazing regenerative capacity, and we are trying to understand what regulates this healing. Disruption of these processes can lead to tumors in humans, thus an understanding of the mechanisms of regulating cell proliferation in zebrafish promises to impact our understanding of human cancers. Overall, the student will learn how the zebrafish can be used as a model organism to study developmental and disease processes that are similar across vertebrate species, including humans. The Karlstrom lab can host 1 - 2 students. Adaptive evolution, the product of natural selection, underlies much of all biological diversity. The Caicedo Lab seeks to understand the genetic basis of adaptation in plant species. Because of the numerous resources available, we often work with species that are related to domesticated crops. One area of focus is the evolution of invasive plants that behave as agricultural weeds, and discovering the genetic changes can lead to weediness. Another area of focus involves understanding the evolution of fruit traits during the transition from wild to domesticated tomatoes, and among diverse wild tomatoes. The Caicedo Lab can host 1-2 students. More information about the Caicedo Lab can be found here: How do complex structures and shapes develop from a single-cell embryo? What makes the human hand different from the horse_Сйs hoof, the bat_Сйs wing, or the flipper of a whale? These are the basic questions that motivate my lab. Because of their vast diversity in form, we focus on bony fishes to address these questions. Opportunities exist for two students to participate in a large genetic mapping effort to identify the genes that are responsible for producing variation in complex morphological traits. Projects will include a combination of phenotypic analysis (i.e., quantifying trait variation), as well as the genetic mapping of this trait variation in order to locate the gene(s) of interest within the genome. The Albertson lab can host 2 students. More information on research in the Albertson lab can be found here: In the Markstein laboratory we use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to learn about the stem cell features of cancer cells. Fruit flies may seem like a strange model system to study cancer because fruit flies do not normally get cancer. However, in the laboratory, fruit flies have become one of the most powerful genetic systems to learn about the biology of cancer. For example, most of the major genetic pathways known to cause cancer in humans were first identified in the fruit fly. Two examples are the RAS pathway which is mutated in 30% of all human cancers and the NOTCH pathway which is mutated in most cases of childhood and adult leukemia. In our laboratory we induce fruit flies to grow tumors by expressing human cancer-causing genes in the stem cells in their intestine. We then screen for drugs and drug-targets (genes) that can reduce growth of the tumors. We are currently making new tools to express transgenes in fruit fly stem cells and invite up to two high school students to join us in the effort to build these tools. Students will be involved in the development of new tools for cancer stem cell research that test DNA sequences for their ability to turn on the expression of genes in Drosophila stem cells. Students will also conduct a genetic screen to identify transgenes that are active in stem cells and stem cell microenvironments. Students will learn about Genetics, Transgenic Expression Systems, Dissection, and Fluorescence microscopy with GFP (green fluorescence protein). The Markstein laboratory can host 2 students. Pollinators provide billions of dollars in crop pollination annually, and are key components preserving native plant biodiversity. In the last decade, there have been mounting concerns about declines in both managed honey bees and native bees. Although a variety of factors are involved, parasites have been strongly implicated in the decline of many bee species, including honey bees and bumble bees. Plants may play a critical and largely unrecognized role mediating bee disease transmission and bee health, and bee parasites may similarly play an important but largely unstudied role affecting pollination services to plants. There is growing evidence that bees transmit disease through shared flower use, and that floral traits can affect disease transmission. Research in my lab uses field, greenhouse and laboratory techniques to study how plant traits, including floral chemistry, affect bee disease, and how bee disease affects pollination. Students joining our lab can participate in a mix of field and lab-oriented research addressing these critical issues. The Adler lab can host 2 students. Professor Wei-Lih Lee is a cellular and developmental biologist interested in cancer and stem cell biology. The research in Dr. Lee's laboratory aims to determine the mechanism for dysregulated asymmetric divisions in cancer stem cells and in the model organism budding yeast. His group_Сйs hypothesis is that basal-like tumor cells are enriched for stem cells because they have acquired defects in spindle orientation, resulting in a failure of asymmetric divisions leading to an expansion of the cancer stem cells. The specific project for the Summer Pre-College student will involve generating DNA plasmid constructs for expression in budding yeast, a model system that we used to address asymmetric division in cancer stem cells. The Lee lab can host 2 students. A dynamic genome with high plasticity contributes directly to the success of the organism to adapt to changing environments. My lab studies genetic mechanisms that sustain structural and functional flexibility while maintaining the integrity of the organism using the model fungal system Fusarium oxysporum. F. oxysporum is a highly adaptive species complex that consists of both plant and human pathogens. Collectively, members within this species complex cause destructive and intractable wilt diseases across a diverse spectrum of plant hosts, including numerous economically important crops: e.g., cotton, canola, melons, and tomato. During the past two decades, F. oxysporum strains have also emerged as opportunistic pathogens causing life-threatening infections in immunocompromised patients. However, any single pathogenic form exhibits strong host specificity. Comparative genomics demonstrated that horizontal transfer of pathogenicity chromosomes conveys host-specific pathogenicity (Ma et al., 2010). The pathogenicity chromosomes encoded in each pathogenic form provide a focal point for investigating the genetic mechanisms that underlie pathogenesis. F. oxysporum has also been used to study host-pathogen interactions to investigate horizontal chromosome transfer in eukaryotes. Specifically, my research combines experimental and computational biology approaches to: Study the molecular interactions within the genome and between the _СТcore genome_Сќ and the horizontally transferred chromosomes by reconstructing regulatory network; Investigate the plant-fungal interactions using a Fusarium-Arabidopsis pathosystem for the development of optimized management strategies to control the Fusarium vascular wilt diseases; and dissect virulence factors that contribute to emerging infectious disease using Fusarium-animal model systems for the development of novel therapeutics. Dissect virulence factors that contribute to emerging infectious disease using Fusarium-animal model systems for the development of novel therapeutics. Plants and animals frequently engage microbes in mutualistic interactions, some of which with significant impacts on our society and the ecosystem. Because such interactions are complex by nature, we are using one well-studied system as an example to probe the molecular mechanisms needed to establish symbiotic relationships in general. Legumes (beans, peas, etc.) play hosts to a class of bacteria that can convert nitrogen in the atmosphere into plant food. This nitrogen-fixing symbiosis is of great importance to sustainable development, and also has medical implications for human health. Potential projects include discovering novel genes required for this symbiosis, and the effects of specific host proteins on the microbial partner. The Wang lab can host 1-2 students.

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Opportunity Information

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Application Deadline

Rolling deadlines, apply soon when you're ready!


Amherst, Massachusetts


July 10 2016

Financial AID


Grade Levels

9th / 10th / 11th / 12th

Last Updated on

August 9 2017

Opportunity Types

Summer Program

Important Dates

Start Date

July 10 2016

End Date

August 6 2016

Deadline Date

Rolling deadlines, apply soon when you're ready!


No multiple sessions

College Fly-Ins (for high school seniors)