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Summer Internship Aquarium Microbiome Project

John Shedd Aquarium

Summer Internship Aquarium Microbiome Project

Chicago, IL
  • Responsibilities

    Summer Internship: Aquarium Microbiome Project Summer Internship: Aquarium Microbiome Project Summary Title: Summer Internship: Aquarium Microbiome Project ID: 1297 Department: Internship Description Objective The microbiome project intern will participate in real research by helping us identify the microbes in a habitat of endangered aquatic turtles and share the amazing science happening at Shedd by creating a microbial map of exhibits weve sampled around the Aquarium. This intern will help the team address the challenges of connecting microbiome research to endangered species conservation and communicating our work to general audiences in an engaging way. Summary The Shedd Aquarium Microbiome Project seeks to identify aquarium management practices that promote beneficial microbial communities in our animal habitats. An important first step is characterizing the microbiome, or tiny environment, that can be found in water systems. The Aquarium and its partners are currently surveying the microbiome of animal habitats to begin to understand whos there. Research takes place in the Aquariums own state-of-the-art laboratory. Capabilities include high-throughput DNA sequencing, quantitative PCR and robotic fluid handling. The lab team works closely with Shedds environmental monitoring and animal care staff to study this unique built environment. Responsibilities & Duties Demonstrate commitment to Shedds vision, mission and values. Read and understand relevant background materials on Project protocols and background on the endangered Western pond turtle, head-starting programs and emerging wildlife disease. Interpret the labs workflow by creating a visual diagram to helping others to understand how we take samples and turn them into a microbial census. Provide weekly care and habitat maintenance for 8 endangered Western pond turtles while collecting samples for microbial analysis. Make observations of individuals and generate recommendations to improve our ability to study and care for them. Collect microbes for DNA extraction using water samples, a vacuum apparatus, membranes and sterile technique. Learn best practices for a next-generation DNA sequencing facility by performing weekly lab decontamination and executing wash cycles on sequencer. Partner with staff to design and create a microbial map showing areas of the aquarium where microbiomes have been characterized and calling out specific taxa of beneficial bacteria discovered by the lab. Attend and contribute ideas to Lab Meetings, Department events and Journal Club discussions. Maintain a clean and safe work environment in accordance with Laboratory guidelines. Collaborate with the Lab Manager, Postdoctoral Associate and Graduate Student as part of a dynamic team. Other projects as assigned Qualifications Desired Majors: Biology, chemistry, or related majors. Desired Year in School: Junior or higher. Minimum of one year of college biology required. Additional coursework in molecular biology, analytical chemistry or microbiology a plus. Other Skills/Characteristics: Curious about the microbiome of the aquarium environment and eager to learn more. Eager to get hands-on experience working with and understanding aquatic reptiles. Well-versed in the scientific method and principles of molecular biology. Detail-oriented, able to follow protocols with principles such as sterile technique in mind. Able to work collaboratively in a team environment. Previous laboratory experience required. Experience working independently in a professional setting a plus. Familiarity with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel or equivalents. Time Commitment: Minimum of 20 hours per week Minimum of 9 weeks Preferred schedule for intern: Tues, Thurs, Fri Set schedule based on intern availability. Application Deadline: March 1st Applications will be accepted until positions are filled, or the application deadline, whichever comes first.

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