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Pakula Biomedical Fellowship Program

The Beloit College Pakula Biomedical Fellowship Program opportunities for 2019!

The Pakula Biomedical Fellowship Program is an 8-week program of mentored laboratory research for current Beloit College students. Biomed Scholars will receive a stipend, must enroll in one unit of Biology 392: Independent Research in Biology, and pay summer tuition for this course. Scholars must contract with the college for room and board. The stipend has been calculated to cover these costs.  The program will run from June 3rd to July 26th, 2019.


Applications are due on March 25th, 2019. Awards will be made within 2-3 weeks of the application due date.

Descriptions of the available projects are given below. If you are interested in a project:

  1. Talk to the faculty mentor for the project to learn more about it.
  2. Apply for the project online.
  3. Request two reference reports from Beloit College faculty members.
  4. Send an unofficial transcript from the portal to Taylor Ajamian,

If you have questions, please contact Rachel Bergstrom, (Biology). Alternatively, contact the faculty member associated with the project that you would like to work on.

2019 Projects

Detection and quantification of seizure-related events in EEG

  • Principal Investigator: Rachel Bergstrom
  • Focus Areas: Biology
  • Project Duration: 8 weeks (June 3-July 26)
  • Prerequisite Courses: Intro Biology Course or Intro Computer Science Course or Intro Psychology course
  • Preferred Courses: Biological Psychology or Calculus or Linear Algebra (not required)
  • Number of Student Positions: 2

Electroencephalograms (EEG) are used to record brain activity and diagnose epilepsy. Seizures, the hallmark event of epilepsy, are identified and scored in the clinic setting by visual analysis of the EEG signal, a time-intensive process that is prone to bias. Automated, computer-based algorithms are under development to streamline and standardize this process. In this project, we will be working with one such algorithm, to investigate and characterize its performance on rat and human EEG data. Students interested in this project should either have computer programming experience OR be willing to develop programming skills as a part of the project.

Quantifying gene expression in plants and bacteria

  • Principal Investigator: Amy Briggs
  • Focus Areas: Biology
  • Project Duration: 8 weeks (June 3-July 26)
  • Prerequisite Courses: Intro Biology Course
  • Preferred Courses: Genetics, Microbiology
  • Number of Student Positions: 2

In this project, students will learn plant and bacterial culturing techniques, RNA extraction, cDNA synthesis, and quantitative real-time PCR. We will use these techniques to answer questions about changes in gene expression (transcription). Possible questions we will answer: 1) which hormonal pathways in plants are differentially regulated by different immune response elicitors? 2) when are stress response pathways in lactic acid producing bacteria (LABs) turned on during fermentation of dairy and plant products? 3) How do starting ingredients affect the activation of stress response pathways in LABs during fermentation? 

Establishing "Tiny Earth: studentsourcing antibiotic discovery" at Beloit College

  • Principal Investigator: Kristin Labby
  • Focus Areas: Chemistry
  • Project Duration: 8 weeks (June 3-July 26)
  • Prerequisite Courses: Intro Chem Course or Intro Bio Course
  • Preferred Courses:Organic Chemistry
  • Number of Student Positions: 2

This project entails conducting the Tiny Earth research sequence to discover novel antibiotic-producing bacteria and planning curriculum to incorporate the research sequence into a future biochemistry course at Beloit College. Based out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Tiny Earth is a network of instructors and students focused on crowdsourcing antibiotic discovery from soil. The research sequence includes isolating bacterial species from soil samples, screening those bacteria against safe-relatives of ESKAPE pathogens to find antibiotic producers, and identifying those antibacterial producers by 16s rRNA sequencing and biochemical tests. Future work will include isolating and identifying the active metabolites made by the "producers".



To see more student research opportunities for Beloit College students, go to