Research Internships

The 2022 Summer Research Experience Internship Application for Undergraduate and High School Students will open mid-November. Please check back in November or add your name & email to this form to be contacted once the application portal officially opens:

Scroll through to see pictures from the 2021 George and Helen Kohut Symposium. Click on the picture to maximize.

Watch presentations from the 2021 George and Helen Kohut Symposium

Undergraduate and high school summer internships at Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), Cornell University, and the USDA provide an excellent opportunity to gain research experience and explore if a scientific career is right for you. Currently we offer positions to outstanding students interested in plant genome research, bioinformatics and science communications. Applications are accepted annually from November until the first Friday of February. Accepted students join an international community of scientists and students in the pursuit of scientific discovery, learn valuable research skills, and attend seminars and workshops to learn from leaders in these fields.

Bioinformatics Internship (NSF REU)

At BTI, molecular biologists and computer scientists are working together at the forefront of biological discovery to solve real world problems. With novel technologies, researchers can now access entire genome sequences, and the details of the proteome, transcriptome, and metabolome of many organisms, to better understand biological systems and interactions. Though information-rich, the size and complexity of these data sets pose new challenges for scientists and society. The growing field of bioinformatics addresses these challenges. Bioinformatics interns will focus on data analysis and developing computational tools and resources to store, analyze, and integrate large-scale “omics” data sets. The program offers a unique training in genome research, computer programming, and systems biology. Students applying for these internships should have some prior experience with computer programming, biology, and a demonstrated interest in the subject. Interested undergraduate students should apply through the Plant Genome Research Program application link.

High School Internship

Local high school students, who are at least sixteen years of age by the start of the program, are eligible to apply for a seven-week internship. Housing is not provided for high school students, and students must provide their own transportation to and from BTI each day. High school interns receive stipends, but are not provided housing, travel, or meal allowances. High school interns are supported by the generosity of local donors. Graduating local high school seniors, who are at least eighteen years of age and are enrolled in an undergraduate institution in the fall, should still apply to the high school program, as the undergraduate internship program dates often conflict with high school course dates. If you are unsure which program to apply to, please feel free to contact us.

Plant Genome Research Program Internship (NSF REU & USDA REEU)

Undergraduate and high school students participate in the Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) summer internship program and learn how basic plant research can be applied to protect the environment, enhance human health, and improve agriculture. PGRP interns gain knowledge of plant genomics and scientific research by working closely with scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students in a laboratory setting. PGRP interns learn the latest molecular biology techniques and bioinformatics tools while working on a supervised, independent research project within the framework of the assigned laboratory’s research program. More information can be found under Program Info (& FAQ) page.

Technology Transfer Internship

Boyce Thompson Institute is hiring a Technology Transfer Intern to participate in the 2020 Summer Internship Program. This individual would spend 10 weeks at BTI and Cornell with the Plant Genome Research Program undergraduate interns, and be paired with a mentor from BTI’s Technology Transfer Office. The student selected for this internship will learn about all aspects of the technology transfer process (patents and patent portfolio management, technology marketing, negotiating agreements and licenses, business development, and entrepreneurship as it relates to research-based startup companies) while exploring career paths related to the field of technology transfer. In addition to gaining practical experience in the daily operations of a technology transfer office, this individual will have the opportunity to meet with professionals working in a variety of technology transfer roles, including patent attorneys, scientists, licensing officers, entrepreneurs, and more. Finally, during their internship, the student will work with their mentor to develop and complete a related project which they will present at the 2020 George and Helen Kohut Summer Symposium. The opportunity will be open to a current undergraduate or a senior graduating spring 2020, who shows an interest in exploring a career path related to technology transfer (i.e. the patent process, patent portfolio management, technology marketing, licensing, business development, entrepreneurship, and/or research-based startup companies). Preference will be given to students studying life sciences. Interested students should select apply now and select the Tech Transfer Internship button.

Internship Spotlights

Read the stories of former Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) interns!

Emily Humphreys poses with a plant

Emily Humphreys

An Oberlin University undergraduate majoring in Biology and minoring in Rhetoric and Composition, Emily Humphreys joined BTI’s Plant Genome Research Program summer intern program in 2020. In addition to utilizing the program’s primary purpose of gaining research experience and learning about scientific careers, Emily approached the communications team to gain additional scientific writing experience on top of her regular workload. Emily wrote two press releases as well as four blog posts, deftly weaving scientific internship topics with her personal thoughts and experiences during the pandemic.

Brandon Williams stands with a plant in a growth chamber

Brandon Williams

Originally from Elmira, NY, Brandon was an undergraduate REU intern in Maria Harrison’s lab in 2017, when he studied transcription factors involved in the symbiosis between arbuscular mycorrhizae and the barrelclover plant with Penelope Lindsay as his mentor. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in biology from SUNY Cortland, he entered the Ph.D. program at Cornell, where he is working to use synthetic biology to create plants that act as biotic sensors. Brandon also spent time in the Van Eck lab in 2018-2019, during which he mentored a PGRP intern in goji berry transformation.

“Working at BTI has solidified in me a passion in conducting research driven towards helping people.”

Emmanuel Gonzalez working in a lab

Emmanuel Gonzalez

Emmanuel spent his summer in the Giovannoni Lab researching cold tolerance in tomato hybrids. Emmanuel has a strong interest in botany that intersects with his love of photography outside of the lab.

“I wanted to gain the skills to become a scientist and eventually use them to bring about good to human and plant life. My passion for plant science has greatly evolved and strengthened; this is my chosen career path.”

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Emerson Foundation
Ithaca Garden Club Logo
John Ben Snow logo
Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County Logo
Rheonix Logo
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Yunis Realty Logo

Internships are funded by the National Science Foundation, Research Experiences for Undergraduates Award #1358843, individual faculty grants, and the generosity of donors including the Emerson Foundation , Ithaca Garden Club, John Ben Snow, the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County, Rheonix, Triad Foundation Inc, Yunis Realty , and many individual donors.



Boyce Thompson Institute
533 Tower Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14853