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Announcements of Opportunity

SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

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. Click here for more tips on finding a mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

New for 2021: Students applying for JPL projects should complete a SURF@JPL application instead of a "regular" SURF application.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Chasing the Red Queen: Adaptive Co-evolution of Small Non-coding RNAs and their Target Genes
Disciplines:  Biology, Genomics and Genetics
Mentor:  Alexei Aravin, Professor, (BBE), aravin@caltech.edu
AO Contact:  Peiwei Chen, pcchen@caltech.edu
Background:  The Red Queen Hypothesis posits that every evolutionary system must constantly evolve to maintain its fitness relative to any other system it is co-evolving with, much like Alice chasing the Red Queen to just stay at the same place in Lewis Carol’s novel. In many cases, the evolutionary force behind the essential yet unconserved molecular innovations remains unknown.
Description:  To study young genes with essential yet unconserved functions, we focus on small non-coding RNAs, the “dark matter” of the animal genome. You will experimentally clone these small RNAs from several insect species that diverged several million years ago and see, by computational analysis, how rapid evolution might have shaped their distinct functionalities, as predicted by the Red Queen Hypothesis.
References:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Queen_hypothesis
https://jeb.biologists.org/content/jexbio/220/1/6.full.pdf
https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.25.266585v1
Student Requirements:  Coursework in fundamental chemistry and biology (Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics) is required. Prior wet lab experience is preferred but not a must. Experience with basic python is an asset.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

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


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