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Amgen Scholars: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty for the Amgen Scholars program.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor. For additional tips on identifying a mentor click here.

Please remember:

  • Students pursuing Amgen must be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or students with DACA status.
  • Students pursuing Amgen must complete the 10-week program from June 21 - August 25, 2023. Students must commit to these dates. No exceptions will be made.
  • Accepted students must live in provided Caltech housing.

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Project:  Interrogating the vertical evolution of marine particulate organic matter via compound-specific isotope analysis
Discipline:  Geobiology
Mentor:  Alex Sessions, Professor of Geobiology, (GPS), sessions@caltech.edu, Phone: 626-395-6445
Mentor URL:  https://web.gps.caltech.edu/~als/  (opens in new window)
AO Contact:  Shaelyn Silverman, ssilverman@caltech.edu
Background:  Sinking particulate organic matter (POM) in the ocean represents the link between surface primary production and burial of organic matter in marine sediments. The mechanisms by which sinking POM is degraded (e.g., by animal consumption, microbial degradation, or disaggregation) have important implications for global carbon cycling in the ocean, and it is necessary to better understand these processes today in order to predict how they will evolve with a changing ocean. In the Sessions lab, we have developed a novel analytical tool – stable hydrogen isotope analysis of amino acids – to answer questions about the biological processes occurring in different samples we analyze. When applied to POM samples collected from different depths and oceans, this isotopic tool may help elucidate how POM is evolving as it sinks in different marine environments, and thus how carbon is being cycled through the marine biogeochemical environment.
Description:  We seek a motivated student who is interested in learning analytical techniques in organic geochemistry and stable isotope biogeochemistry. The student will work with their mentor to prepare POM samples using lab-based wet chemistry techniques, measure the isotopic compositions of their amino acids using gas chromatography isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS), and process and analyze the data to interpret their biogeochemical significance.
References:  https://web.gps.caltech.edu/~als/
Student Requirements:  The student should have experience in a general chemistry lab or lab course.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       Amgen Scholars    Non-Caltech students only  
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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