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The Covid19 pandemic restrictions in place at Rutgers University do not allow in-person laboratory-based Virtual Waksman Institute Summer Experience (WISE) programs at the Waksman Institute for the 2021 Spring Semester and during the summer. However, the online Virtual WISE program (vWISE) can provide high school students with authentic research experiences in bioinformatics and molecular biology. The 2021 Summer programs are now filled.  

The Virtual Waksman Institute Summer Experience (vWISE) programs are an academic year experience that engages high school students in an authentic research project in molecular biology and bioinformatics. It focuses on the DNA sequence analyses of genes from the duckweed Landoltia punctata, and how these compare to those found in other species. Duckweed is a fresh-water aquatic plant that is of interest to the scientific community. A video of an overview of the research project conducted during the summer can be found here. Note: No laboratory experiments will be performed in this program.

This is intense experience that will meet in on-line sessions from 4:00 to 5:30 PM and 7:00-8:30 PM every day during nine day program.  In between the on-line sessions, students are expected to go over the material through online videos and lecture notes, followed by a series of quizzes and bioinformatic assignments.  vWISE programs are offered through the Waksman Institute, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ.

High school students who are accepted to the vWISE Programs will:

  • participate in on-line seminars conducted by Rutgers faculty.
  • analyze gene sequences from these DNA fragments using the same bioinformatic tools used by practicing scientists worldwide.
  • submit their vetted DNA sequence analyses for publication on GenBank, the international repository of DNA sequences, that is maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Education (NCBI).
Each sequence that is published in the GenBank database acknowledges the student by name. For example, see List of vWISE June 2020 Published Sequencesand List of vWISE August 2020 Published Sequences.

Program fee and more information:

  • The total & non-refundable fee for the 2021 Spring vWISE program is $400.00. This fee covers costs for seminars, DNA sequences and on-line review of students' work.
  • Applications for the 2021 Spring vWISE program will be accepted on a first come first serve basis.  There is limited space in each program and they are expected to fill up.  
  • The application for the Spring 2021 Virtual WISE Programs is here.
  • Please visit our website again for future 2021 WISE opportunities in the fall.