Genomics Scholars Program


The Genomics Scholars Program (GSP) is a long-term internship designed to help community college students with a science focus transition to four-year colleges. GSP began in 2014 and is scheduled to end with the last cohort in the summer of 2018. Interns enrolled in the 15-month program had exposure to:

  • Two, 10-week summer research experiences (40 hours/week)
  • One, 12-months semester research experience (10 hours/week)
  • Mentoring by JCVI Faculty
  • Access to JCVI’s state-of-the-art equipment and technology
  • Internal seminars to increase scientific knowledge
  • Professional development activities

The GSP worked with community colleges, including Montgomery College (Maryland) and MiraCosta College (California). All students who have completed the program to date have successfully transitioned to a STEM major at an accredited four-year college.

Please watch how the Genomic Scholars Program affected the outlook for one of our former interns:

Research Experiences

Each Genomic Scholar Intern participated in two summer research experiences as well as had the opportunity to continue working on their projects during the adjoining academic year. At the conclusion of each summer the GSP interns presented their research findings via a poster symposium held at the J. Craig Venter Institutes’ Rockville and La Jolla campuses. Here is a cumulative list of all of their projects through the summer of 2017:

  • Analysis of Bacteroides Species for Mucin-Degrading Pathways that Affect Intestinal Permeability
  • PCR Troubleshooting and optimization in 16s gene
  • Process improvement for DNA extraction from stool samples of Type 1 Diabetes patients
  • Inflammation of the cervicovaginal tract due to urogenital infections and their relation to preterm births
  • A targeted approach towards understanding filovirus-host protein networks
  • Identifying assembled HSV1 genomes in E. coli 
  • Proteome of Carbapenemase-Producing Klebsiella pneumoniae Strain in Urine Model 
  • Proteomic analysis of pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia 
  • Development of regulatable promoters for Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies capri using synthetic biology techniques 
  • Development of plasmids containing heterologous OriC components and replication in Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies capri
  • Reduction of GUS Activity in Phaeodactylum via Episomal hpRNA Expression
  • Using Synthetic Biology to Engineer Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1
  • Developing a method to optimize sequencing of the Zika virus genomic termini
  • Fibronectin and LRG1 protein interactions in T1D patients
  • Cloning and Expression of proteins in Zika virus and Legionella pneumophila in E. coli
  • Filovirus-human protein-protein interaction
  • In Vivo Characterization of Phaeodactylum Tricornutum Promotor Motif Deletions
  • Examining the Importance of GGDEF-EAL and EAL Domain Proteins for Motility and Biofilm Formation in Burkholderia pseudomallei
  • Using existing HMM libraries and data-mining tools to improve understanding of proteins by updating and building HMMs
  • Generating reagents for replication of human rhinovirus C in tissue culture
  • Assembly of herpesvirus genomes to rapidly and efficiently generate virus mutants
  • Utilizing a C-terminal His-tagged vector to rescue high priority target proteins containing signal peptide in various pathogens
  • Mapping ZIKA Virus Protein-Protein Interactions: The Key to Understanding Virus Pathogenesis
  • Generating mycoplasma hybrids using synthetic biology methods


The Genomic Scholar Program was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under award number R25DK098111.