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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 18 - August 23, 2024. Students must commit to these dates. No exceptions will be made.
  • Accepted students must live in provided Caltech housing.

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Project:  Assessing the drivers of biological methane consumption in California soils
Disciplines:  Geobiology, Environmental Science and Engineering, Geochemistry
Mentor:  Woodward Fischer, Professor of Geobiology, (GPS),
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
AO Contact:  Hannah Dion-Kirschner,
Background:  Almost all soils on Earth host microbes that are able to consume methane from the atmosphere, providing an important ecosystem service to limit atmospheric greenhouse gas levels. However, soil methane uptake is understudied in arid environments like California. In the Fischer lab, we are pursuing research to understand what environmental variables are important for controlling methane uptake in California soils. We have measured methane fluxes in different California environments and have collected soil samples at each measurement site. We now have a set of hundreds of California soil samples with associated metadata (methane flux, temperature, microbial community) that can support a wide range of lab-based analyses and data exploration approaches, depending on a student’s interests. This work will help significantly improve our understanding of soil methane uptake and how it responds to ongoing environmental change.
Description:  We seek a dependable student who is excited to learn a broad range of techniques for analyzing soil samples. The student will have the opportunity to investigate hundreds of soil samples from different California environments and choose from a range of potential analyses, depending on their interests. This project also offers an opportunity for data analysis and exploration with a rich environmental dataset. Research work may include literature review, lab-based physical and chemical soil processing methods, quantitative measurements with analytical instruments (e.g., total organic carbon and nitrogen contents, particle size distributions, etc.), and/or data exploration and analysis.
Student Requirements:  The student should ideally have experience in a general chemistry, biology, or environmental science (or equivalent) lab or lab course. WAVE and Amgen applicants are especially encouraged. Please contact with any questions.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       Amgen Scholars    Non-Caltech students only  
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

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

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