BSPM Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Are you a perfect fit?

Are you an undergraduate student at CSU? Are you interested in insects, plants or microbes? Would you like to get hands on experience in scientific research?

If so, you should apply to the

Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management (BSPM) Undergraduate Research Fellowship!!

I heard you wanted some research experience?

The Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management (BSPM) Undergraduate Research Fellowship aims to support CSU undergraduate students to work in scientific research in BSPM laboratories of their choice during one academic year, so that students can gain research experience that will prepare them for their future career endeavors.

BSPM Undergraduate Research Fellows will receive financial support for salary to conduct research in the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters ($1,500 per semester) in BSPM labs.

To apply for this fellowship, the first thing you have to do is to identify a professor in the BSPM department with whom you would like to conduct scientific research in the Fall of 2018 and Spring of 2019. Browse the professor and project description list below to choose your preferred research project.

Perform genetics and molecular biology research to identify plants that are more resistant to pathogens.

Participate in ecological research of plants in one of several ways: (1) measure traits of plants above and belowground and summarize and analyze the data to help us understand how their characteristics influence their success in different environments; (2) analyze data from an extensive study of roadside restoration projects in 10 western US National Parks; (3) Conduct an experiment to evaluate the germination and growth characteristics of the invasive annual grass Bromus tectorum collected from different parts of the US Rocky Mountains.

Perform microbiology experiments to understand how pathogenic bacteria react to, transport, and metabolize molecules produced by their plant hosts. 

  1. Rapid evolution of Diorhabda beetles introduced for the biological control of Tamarisk – the focus is on shifts in dispersal and in diapause induction in summer 2018, and on the role of hybridization in host use summer 2019
  2. Adaptation or extinction – using Tribolium beetles to understand when rapid evolution speeds adaptation and delays extinction, or increases extinction risk.
  3. The consequences of a new invader for foothills food-webs. This project focuses on Drosophila suzukii, which attacks small fruit and berries on cultivated plants (e.g. strawberry, raspberry), wild native plants (e.g. wild plum), and ornamental and invasive bushes.

The Leach lab investigates how bacterial plant pathogens cause diseases in rice plants and how rice has evolved strategies to defend itself from pathogen attack.

We would train students on the experimental design and analysis needed to understand the genetics of complex traits in plants. Students will participate in phenotyping one ore more plant species, and will work closely with PhD students.

  1. Examine the effects of plant defensive chemistry on herbivore and parasitoid performance. 
  2. Study interactions (competition and facilitation) between to gall-forming insects (biocontrol agents) of Russian knapweed. This project involves mostly greenhouse and field studies.
  3. Study mechanisms of competitive displacement between two species of Cotesia parasitoids. This project involves laboratory, greenhouse, and field studies.
  4. Explore effects of herbivory and elevation (as a proxy to climate change) effects on trophic interactions between plants (cowparsnips), herbivores/florivores, pollinators, and parasitoids across an elevation gradient from 1500 to 3000 m. This project involves mostly field work.

The causal agent of Thousand Cankers is the fungus Geosmithia morbida. Little is known about the mating strategy of this pathogen. It is thought that it is asexual, but whether the pathogen is heterothallic or homothallic is unknown. The undergrad would identify the mating type genes (MAT) from the genome and develop primers to amplify the genes. Then from a large collection of isolates, these primers would be used to test the mating type strategy and ratio that MAT1 or MAT2 are found in the population.

Submitting Application (Step 2)

Once you identify a professor and project that you enjoy, send in your application, indicating that professor as a potential mentor.

The application form can be found below. Please note that financial support for the BSPM Undergraduate Research Fellowship will be awarded on a competitive basis, so please make sure your application is complete


Please email Dr. Cris Argueso for with any application questions!

*Make sure to title subject as BSPM Undergraduate Research Fellowship*

  • Application Due Date

    Send to Janet Dill by May 11th 2018

  • Applicant Notification

    May 18th 2018

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