Educational Programs
Gain Research Experience in Plant Biology


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 and bioinformatics. 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. Read the following text to find out more.

Watch a video to hear past interns and their mentors discuss their research experiences at BTI.

Plant Genome Internship

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.

Bioinformatics Internship

At BTI, plant molecular biologists and computer scientists are working together at the forefront of biological discovery to solve real world problems. With novel technologies, researchers now can access entire genome sequences, and the details of the proteome, transcriptome, and metabolome, to better understand biological systems and interactions. Though full of information, the size and complexity of these datasets pose new challenges for scientists and society. The growing field of bioinformatics addresses these challenges.

Bioinformatics interns will focus on developing computational tools and resources to store, analyze, and integrate large-scale plant “omics” datasets. The program offers a unique training in plant genome research, computer programming, and systems biology. Students applying for these internships should have some prior experience with computer programming skills, biology, bioinformatics, and a demonstrated interest in the subject.

High School Internship

Local high school students, who are at least sixteen years of age at the start of the program, are eligible to apply for a six-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.

Internships are funded by the National Science Foundation, Research Experiences for Undergraduates Award #1358843, individual faculty grants, and the generosity of local donors including the Ithaca Garden Club, the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County, and the Tompkins Charitable Gift Fund.