Undergraduate Molecular Biology Lab Skills Bootcamp

Did you ever hear the saying “you can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job”?

Well the Molecular Biology Lab Skills Bootcamp is designed specifically to overcome that conundrum!

If you are eager to engage in a lab-based undergraduate research experience but feel like you have no skills or confidence in the molecular biology aspects found in modern biomedical, environmental, and engineering labs these days, then bootcamp might be for you!

Bootcamp, is a joint project offered by the VCU UROP, Office of Research and Innovation, and Department of Biology with sponsorship from the VCU Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity, VCU Maximizing Access to Research Careers and the VCU Bridges to the Baccalaureate research training programs. Bootcamp is a week-long intensive lab workshop, with no exams, no grades, just fun hands-on-learning. It was designed specifically to help students gain skills and confidence with molecular biology content that is typically only found in upper-level courses. The goal of bootcamp is to “kick-start” younger students research experiences.

We have designed a week-long immersion course to prepare students to enter a molecular research lab for the first time. The purpose of the course is to provide a snapshot of lab skills to help overcome challenges faced by student researchers who are new to a laboratory setting. Our goal is to help you assimilate to the lab environment faster, which will not only contribute to your fundamental research skills, but will also make you more attractive as a candidate for student research experiences as you continue your undergraduate career.

Check out this VCU news article about the week and some quotes from students who took the course:

  • “Great beginning experience and very useful for future endeavors………. I feel it is very beneficial for students who want to enter research”
  • “Really loved this program! It was so cool to get hands on and by the end of the week I definitely feel more comfortable with the basic procedures and I am excited to have these skills for future application”
  • “I really enjoyed learning in the relax environment and bootcamp really was helpful. I feel like I learned a lot about working in a lab this week and I hope within the next year I will get a chance to actually be in a lab doing research”

A description of the course can be found here and a sample of the week’s activities attached to assist you in your decision. This is not a credit based course and will be free of charge. Successful students will be awarded a certificate upon completion of the program.

Bootcamp will run for a span of 1 week in mid-May each year.
9.30 am – 4pm
Trani LFSCB 207
Students must be attend all day, all week!

Please note that you must make arrangements for your own housing during the ‘Bootcamp’, and 9 month dorms will be closed during this period.

Eligibility - Full time VCU undergraduates of all disciplines.

Application Requirements - Strong applicants will have: 4 or more remaining semesters at VCU and no previous lab/research experience (outside of classes). Students who transferred to VCU from community colleges in Fall 2015 are strongly encouraged to apply. We will show preference to those who have secured or are seeking a summer research experience and those who desire to pursue a graduate degree (MS or PhD).

There are no prerequisites for this experience.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis priority will go to applications received by April 15th.

Application Requirements:
Applicants must complete the online application form

For resources about finding undergraduate research experiences see:
Preparing for Undergraduate Research
Finding Undergraduate Research Opportunities (Written for Biology Majors but works for all Sciences)
Summer research and internship opportunities

If you have questions contact Sarah Golding at segolding@vcu.edu

Bootcamp class of 2014