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

The Virtual Waksman Institute Summer Experience (Fall21 vWISE) program is 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 are conducted in this program. 

This is intense experience that will meet exclusively on-line on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 PM for an 8-week period beginning on October 4, 2021.  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.  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 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.

Program fee and more information:

  • The total required, non-transferable, non-refundable fee for the Fall21 vWISE program 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 Fall21 vWISE program are accepted on a first come first serve basis.  There is limited space and based on previous experience, the Fall21 vWISE is expected to fill. However, we do reserve the right to cancel the Program if it is undersubscribed.  
  • The application for the Fall21 vWISE Program is here.
  • Please visit our website again for future WISE opportunities.