Undergrad Research

More than 60% of our biology students are actively engaged in a research or field study project each semester, both on-campus in state-of-the-art labs and off-campus with local scientists and doctors, getting the hands-on experience that makes them stand out in the job market.

Hobart and William Smith students benefit from the Colleges' long and valuable relationship with Cornell's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, located right in Geneva. Our students work and study alongside Experiment Station scientists during the school year and summer, gaining significant exposure to applied research while making important contributions to experiment station projects.

Students interested in pursuing careers in medicine also have access to clinical internships, skill training and direct patient care experiences through a special partnership with Finger Lakes Health, a local health system with 75 staff physicians and a broad range of primary and specialty services located just one mile from campus.

Here's a recent sampling of what some of our students are working on:

  • Alessandra Bryan '20: Phylogenetic analysis of milkweed species (Aslepias) based on whole chloroplast genomes
  • Grace Marshall '19: Personality-dependent movement behavior and its effects on dispersal
  • Alvin Randall '19: MTT cytotoxicity protocol development for MCF7 breast cancer cells
  • Carl Wagner '19: Phylogenetic and molecular evolution of milkweed species (Aslepias) based on chloroplast sequences
  • Theresa Harvey '18: Silencing genes: using RNA interference to change behavior
  • Banan Otaibi '18: Adaptive evolution and population genetic structure of a woodland salamander in a regenerating landscape
  • Grace Martel '18: Energetic condition and differential migration during fall and spring in Ruby-crowned Kinglets
  • Bri Hurysz '20: Assessing and minimizing threat of fire blight following mechanical thinning and mechanical hedging
  • Meredith Steinfeldt '20: Plastome phylogenomics of the common milkweed clade of Asclepias (Apocynaceae)
  • Charmaine Chung '19: Comparison of de novo and reference-guided assembly in the characterization of the chloroplast genome of Gelsemium sempervirens
  • Maddie Cullinan '19: Molecular evolution of the accD gene in the Apocynaceae chloroplast genome
  • Andrew Herrmann '19: Evolutionary History of clpP, a Potential Pseudogene, in milkweeds (Asclepias)
  • Marissa McFadden '19: Synthesis and Reactions of Tetramic and Tetronic Acids
  • Jack Sherwood '19: Developing a Protocol for Synthesizing Fluorescently-Labeled Peptides using Solid-Phase Peptide Synthesis Techniques
  • Chris Stedry '19: Molecular evolution of the plastid accD gene in milkweeds (Asclepias; Apocynaceae)
  • Ashley Testa '19: Effects of macromolecular crowding on enzyme kinetics
  • Jonathan Thrall '19: A molecular analysis of the Grape Berry Moth’s navigation through a noisy chemical environment
  • Nate Webster '19: Synthesis and Reactions of Tetramic and Tetronic Acids
  • Rachel Best '18: The influence of taxonomic composition on methylmercury concentration in zooplankton in the Finger Lakes
  • Michael Conroy '18: Biological and social drivers of chlamydia and gonorrhea infection rates
  • Kelsey Irving '18: Xyzistatin induced changes in gene expression U937 cancer cells
  • Christopher Kniesche '18: Evolution of Xyzistatin resistance in U937 cancer cells
  • Megan Lafferty '18: Biological evaluation of potential VEGF-R inhibitors
  • Brianna Moore '18: Genetics of Sex Determination in the Dioecious Shrub Willow, Salix purpurea
  • Banan Otaibi '18: Genetic structure of woodland salamander populations in a fragmented forest
  • Shivam Tewari '18: Investigations in how to Study Biofouling of Membranes during Desalination
  • Kayleigh Buffington '17: Methylmercury bioaccumulation and trophic position of the non-native Bloody Red Shrimp (Hemimysis anomala) in the Finger Lakes (New York)
  • Abbey Foote '17: Resolving the phylogenetic tree of Rauvolfioideae tribes using the whole chloroplast genome
  • Jerlin Garo '17: Single nucleotide polymorphisms: markers for identifying genes influencing phenotype of interest
  • Katarina Kostovic '17: An in-depth inspection of unresolved relationships in Apocynaceae using phylogenetic analysis
  • Kayleigh Buffington '17: Head-to-head competition with light-based traps.
  • Namita Neerukonda '17: Biological evaluation of simplified analogs of Protein Kinase C inhibitor staurosporine.
  • Maddie Sutton '17: Is mass gain in migratory warblers influenced by sex, season, or arrival date?
  • Nicolette Andrzejczyk '16: Effects of estrogen mimics on the feminization of blacknose dace in the Seneca Lake watershed.
  • Katrin Ayer '16: Investigation of factors involved in DMI and QoI fungicide practical resistance in Malus domestica 'Empire,' 'Joagold,' 'MacIntosh' and 'Cortland.'
  • Madeline Balman '16: Evolution of salamander movement behavior in response to roads.
  • Shay Callahan '16: Effects of land use history on movement behavior of woodland salamanders
  • Rachel Catlin '16: Using Cultured Neurons to Study Free Radical Attacks on the Cytoskeleton
  • Alex Gatch '16: Age and Size as Predictors of Mercury Accumulation in Lake Trout from the Finger Lakes.
  • Rachel Hughes '16: Diversity of soil invertebrates in agricultural soils.
  • Elizabeth Lunderman '16: Plastome evolution and molecular phylogenetics of Alyxieae (Apocynaceae).
  • Kate Mendez '16: Novel detection methods of non-native species in the Finger Lakes.
  • Caitlin Maloney '16: The effect of tillage on soil invertebrate communities in soybean fields.
  • Joseph Sanders. '16:  Energetic condition of migrating warblers: Evidence of annual variation during spring migration.
  • Fatima Saravia '16: Examining the function of unique bacterial chemotaxis residues.
  • Lauren Walter '16: Comparative genomic analysis of Apocynaceae plastomes.
  • Carter Brown '15:  An analysis of migratory night calls during fall migration at the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory.
  • Stephanie Cramer '15: Examining the amino acids in putative bacterial motility receptors. 
  • Kathryn Dormans '15: Wing development in the little brown bat using MicroCT scanning.
  • Stephen Enos '15:  FK228 (Romidepsin) Analog "JB" as an Apoptosis Inducer in p53 Deficient U937 Cells.
  • Alison McCarthy '15: Impacts of forest edge effects on behavior of red-backed salamanders.
  • Scott McMorris '15: The development of the inner ear region in little brown bats using 3D microCT scanning.
  • Caitlyn Mitchell '15: Testing Xyzistatin, a novel depsipeptide, for histone deacetylase inhibitor activity on cancer cells.
  • Kevin Moore '15: Behavioral response of male European corn borer moths to mixtures of European and Asian corn borer sex pheromones: a crtical stage in the evolution of a new communication system.
  • Amanda Rappaport '15: Mating decisions: Alternate courtship strategies and sexual conflict in Drosophila sulfurigaster. 
  • Nick Steijn '15: Winter diet studies of Hemimysis anomala.

Get Involved


The Biology Club, Pre-Health Professions Club and HWS EMS Team are student-run organizations that may be of interest to students studying biology.

For more information about these organizations or to learn about starting your own biology-themed club, contact Kristen Tobey ( in the Office of Student Activities.



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