CURRICULUM

During the 10-week long FBRI Molecular Visualization SURF program, students will participate in a series of educational, research, and social activities.
Of the 26 FBRI research teams; 5 use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), 12 use confocal microscopy, 3 use cryo-electron microscopy, 5 use super-resolution localization microscopy, 3 use optical mapping (for cardiac tissue), and 4 use 2-photon microscopy. This highlights our visualization-intensive research community and the wealth of expertise available in each area. We will teach fundamental principles of each approach while covering advantages, limitations, and appropriate application.

Education

The FBRI Molecular Visualization SURF program will include courses in general laboratory orientation and safety, data management and record keeping. The group will convene for a 3 h workshop at the beginning of each week where students will: (i) receive a 45 min presentation from an expert user of a specific imaging technique at FBRI followed by 15 min student questions and discussion, (ii) participate in a 60 min tour where they will gain hands-on experience in operating particular instrumentation and acquiring data and, (iii) reconvene to receive sample data sets and instruction on how to analyze as an assignment for the next meeting, discuss previous weeks assignment, and to participate in a 15 min open-discussion of experiences from the past week. Students will receive science writing and communication training and learn how to communicate science to the public. These activities will prepare students for their participation with oral and poster presentations at the Annual Virginia Tech Summer Research Symposium and Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC Symposium. All of these courses will be delivered by faculty at FBRI and are designed to prepare undergraduates for careers in biological research.

Research

All FBRI Molecular Visualization SURF students will perform 10 weeks of full-time, hypothesis-driven independent research in participating laboratories at FBRI. At the end of this period students will deliver presentations at the Annual Virginia Tech Summer Research Symposium and Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC Symposium.

Social Activities

All FBRI Molecular Visualization SURF students will participate in several social activities throughout the 10-week period. This will include pizza parties and ice cream socials, opportunities to meet fellow summer research students, and peer mentoring from graduate students at VT. Additionally, there will be activities that take advantage of beautiful Roanoke, a small city nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia.