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What will I do?

Your experience in this REU will be unique. During the 10 week program you will participate in one of a small number of interdisciplinary projects led by the principal investigators and their collaborators. Unlike many other REU sites, everyone will have the opportunity to lead their own independent interdisciplinary team, and to participate in another team as a supporting member. You will be challenged to learn about fields that are new to you, but also to help others learn about your field of expertise.

Each week you will work both independently and with your interdisciplinary teams to explore novel research ideas and to test hypotheses. You will have the opportunity to both generate original primary data and analyze existing next-generation datasets. You will be assisting or leading the development of novel computational techniques and algorithms to analyze the primary data. The type of project that you lead will be dependent on your background. Computer scientists, bioinformaticians, and other students with more computational experience will lead the projects specific to those fields. Similarly biologists will lead investigations into genomic and organismal studies.

Mentorship and REU Structure

The development of next-generation DNA sequencing technologies are providing biologists a digital signal that is revolutionizing genome research.  This technology provides unprecedented possibilities for the characterization and the understanding of genomes and for integrating molecular and organismal biology with studies of ecology, behavior, and evolution.  The massive amounts of data and the characteristics of the data create new challenges for biologists and computer scientists in addition to enabling collaborative teams to address questions in the life sciences with more depth and precision.  The intellectual focus of this project is to empower undergraduate research in the area and application of next-generation DNA sequencing that span domains of bioinformatics, cyberinfrastructure, data mining, e-Science, genome biology, and molecular evolution.  To add to the greater body of research knowledge, 5 students from the life sciences and 5 students from the area of computer science will work hand-in-hand and alongside mentors to answer important open questions in ongoing research projects.  You will get firsthand experience of the integrated and collaborative nature of the discipline.  The result will be transformative, taking students from dependent to independent young investigators.  As young investigators you will be mentored in the process of publishing your results in domain-specific conferences and journals.

Unlike other REU models that disperse students to numerous labs, each student will join an ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration between the three primary mentors: Drs Anderson (PI), Shedlock (Co-PI), and Watson (senior personnel). Research students will be divided into smaller teams for an individualized experience, but we will maintain a tight cohort based model throughout the summer. As previously stated, you will both lead a research investigation and participate in at least one other as a interdisciplinary colleague. The project that you lead will depend on your background and interests. The projects will derived from ongoing research by the three mentors, and sample projects are described below.

Charleston Experience

Most of your time will be spent in downtown Charleston, SC (http://www.charlestoncvb.com/) at the College of Charleston facilities (http://compsci.cofc.edu). Though everyone will be collaborating with researchers from the Genome Center at Medical University of South Carolina (http://hcc.musc.edu/research/resources/genomics.htm) and researchers working at the Hollings Marine Laboratory (http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/mbes/GraduateEdu/partnership.htm). You will have the opportunity to work in these facilities as well.

Charlie

Charlie finding creative ways to use his desk space

Connie

Sunrise over the marshes. The crew was up early looking for alligators 

Charlie

More alligator stuff

Connie

Connie and Francisca are prepared for an alligator attack.

Charlie

Harborwalk East - Omics REU Headquarters. The Ravenelle Bridge in the distance.

Connie

Everybody hard at work in the lab.

Charlie

Work? Oh, right! Work...two serving nine. 

Connie

Harborside view of the lab. 

Charlie

After work drinks were often times much needed. If you're not 21 their tater tots will do.

Connie

Bay Street Biergarten: the official watering hole of the Omics REU squad.

Charlie

Everybody grew mustaches to show our team spirit. 

Connie

Shrimp boil at Ft. Johnson.  

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The Ravenelle Bridge from Ft. Johnson. 

Connie

King St., downtown Charleston.

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Market St. and Meeting St., downtown Charleston.

Connie

Making our way down East Bay St. So much to do, so little time.

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Southend Brewery on East Bay St.

Connie

The French Quarter of downtown Charleston. 

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Carriage rides through downtown.

Connie

Charlie checking the salinity of the water on a boat trip around the harbor. No one asked him to do this... 

Charlie

A dolphin checking out the harbor with us.

Connie

We found these on our boat trip.