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WISE

Waksman Institute Summer Experience (WISE) programs at the Waksman Institute, Rutgers University.

The WISE programs engage 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

Currently, the Covid19 pandemic restrictions are still in place at Rutgers University and do not allow in-person on campus high school programs.  We are waiting for a decision from the administration about how programs for high school students can be offered in the summer of 2022.   If allowed, we plan to hold in-person programs (WISE).  If high school students are not permitted on campus, then we will only offer virtual on-line programs (vWISE).  Information about both types of programs is described below. 

The Waksman Institute Summer Experience (WISE) is a non-residential two-week program held at the Waksman Institute on the Busch campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway NJ. The sessions will meet Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  Students will attend seminars followed by laboratory sessions each day.  Students are expected attend all seminars and laboratory sessions, conduct independent homework assignments and report their findings. 

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

  • participate in daily seminars conducted by Rutgers faculty.
  • conduct in-person molecular biology laboratory procedures to purify and analyze DNA fragments and report their findings.
  • 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 on the GenBank database acknowledges the student by name. For example, see List of vWISE June 2020 Published Sequences and List of vWISE August 2020 Published Sequences.

If in-person activities are allowed at Rutgers University in the summer of 2022 we will offer the following WISE programs:
June-22 WISE: June 20 to July 1, 2022
July-22 WISE: July 25 to August 5, 2022

Program fee and more information:

  • Students must have completed a high school level biology course to be accepted into the WISE program.
  • The total required, non-transferable, non-refundable fee for the WISE programs is $2000.00 and is due 2 weeks after your application is acknowledged. This fee covers costs for seminars, laboratory supplies and reagents to generate of novel DNA sequences from duckweed, and the on-line review of students' work.
  • Due to space limitations in the laboratory, the number of available positions in the WISE program is limited to 36 students.
  • Applications for the WISE programs are accepted on a first come first serve basis.  There is limited space and based on previous experience, the WISE is expected to fill. However, we do reserve the right to cancel the Program if it is undersubscribed.  
  • The application for the WISE Program is linked here:  

The virtual Waksman Institute Summer Experience (vWISE) program is an on-line experience that engages high school students in an authentic research project in molecular biology and bioinformatics. Note: No laboratory experiments are conducted in this program. This is intense experience that will meet exclusively on-line Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 10:30 AM and 1:00 to 2:30 PM EDT for two weeks.  Between the on-line seminars, students are expected to review the material through online videos and lecture notes, and take a series of quizzes and complete other bioinformatic assignments to support the research investigations.  

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 on the GenBank database acknowledges the student by name. For example, see List of vWISE June 2020 Published Sequences and List of vWISE August 2020 Published Sequences.

The Aug-22 vWISE program will be held August 8 to August 19, 2022.

If in-person activities are not allowed at Rutgers University in the summer of 2022 we will also hold the following vWISE programs:
June-22 vWISE: June 20 to July 1, 2022
July-22 vWISE: July 25 to August 5, 2022

Program fee and more information:

  • Students must have completed a high school level biology course to be accepted into the vWISE programs.
  • The total required, non-transferable, non-refundable fee for the vWISE programs is $500.00 and is due 2 weeks after your application is acknowledged. This fee covers costs for seminars, the generation of novel DNA sequences from duckweed, and the on-line review of students' work.
  • Applications for the vWISE programs are accepted on a first come first serve basis.  There is limited space and based on previous experience, the vWISE is expected to fill. However, we do reserve the right to cancel the Program if it is undersubscribed.  
  • The application for the vWISE Program is linked here: