Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research and Extramural Research Opportunities

  Dear Undergraduate Students,

    Participation in an
undergraduate research project under the direction of the faculty provides an opportunity for outstanding students to explore the possibility of a career as a research scientist. While these research projects are usually conducted within the Department’s facilities, cooperative programs with other academic and industry laboratories, and NSF funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) make it possible for students to conduct research projects at extramural sites.

    Students interested in undergraduate research in the Department of Biological Sciences are required to take BIOL 2992 Research Orientation in the fall of their sophomore or junior year. This course helps students match their interests with specific faculty or a specific extramural research opportunity. The course also requires students to do intensive bibliographic research in the preparation of their research prospectus, i.e., a detailed description of their proposed research project.

    Students generally complete their research during the next academic year or during an intensive 9 week period in the summer. The culmination of the student’s undergraduate research experience, whether in the Department of Biological Sciences or at an extramural site, will require the student to produce a senior thesis and may qualify to present the results of their thesis as an oral presentation at the Boland Symposium or as a poster at the annual Appalachian Student Research Forum held in March or the Beta Beta Beta, Southeast Region, annual meeting in April. Academically outstanding students may be eligible for out of state tuition waivers or fellowships based on the recommendation of the faculty.

Departmental Funding Opportunities for Outstanding Undergraduate Research Students

- CRAWL is a new project at ETSU, funded by the National Science Foundation, designed especially to engage undergraduate students in research at the interface of math and biology. For more information visit: http://www.etsu.edu/cas/biology/crawl/

For more information regarding general research opportunities contact any faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences

University Funding Opportunities

Undergraduate Student Travel to Professional Meetings


Recent Publications with Undergraduates (in bold)

Dinkins, Z.C., Nandi, A., Levy, F., and J. Donaldson. 2014. Surface soil properties of alder balds (Alnus virdis ssp. crispa) with respect to grassy and woody vegetation on Roan Mountain, Tennessee. Southeastern Naturalist (in press).

Watts JC, Herrig A.,Allen WD, Jones TC.2014 Diel patterns of foraging aggression and Antipredator behavior in the trashline orb-weaving spider Cyclosa turbinata. In press: Animal Behavior

Jones, T.C., Akoury, T.S., Hauser, C.K., Neblett II, M.F. Linville, B.J., Edge, A.A.and N.O. Weber. 2011.Octopamine and serotonin have opposite effects on antipredator behavior in the orb-weaving spider, Larinioides cornutus. J. Comp Physiol. Ser. A, 197:819-829.

Karsai I. and Runciman A. (2011). The “common stomach” as information source for the  regulation of construction behavior of the swarm. Mathematical and Computer Modelling of Dynamical Systems. 18: 13-24. iFirst, 1-12: DOI:10.1080/13873954.2011.601423

Jones, TC, Akoury, CK Hauser, & D Moore. 2011 Evidence of circadian rhythm in antipredator behavior in the orb-weaving spider Larinioides cornutus. Animal Behavior 82:549-555.

Johnson JN,  Hardgrave E, Gill C , and Moore D (2010). Absence of consistent diel rhythmicity in mated honey bee queen behavior.   Journal of Insect Physiology   56 : 761-773.

Shams W. Es Walker, F. Levy, SA REynolds,  SM Peterson , FA Sarubbi. 2010 Comparative activity of telavancin and other antimicrobial agents against MRSA isolates collected from 1991 to 2006. Chemotherapy 56:411-416

Levy, F., Baker, J. Chen, K., Cooke, G., Liu, Y.S., Walker, E.S., and T. McDowell. (2008) Patterns of spread hemlock woolly adelgid in Carolina hemlock populations. Proceedings of the 4th Symposium on Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in the Eastern United States (Hartford, CT Feb. 12-14, 2008). USDA and Forest Service, pp 169-176.


Recommended Research Program


Sophomore or
Junior Year

BIOL 2992
Research Orientation
2 credits

Academic Year or
9 week summer experience

BIOL 4910
Research in Biology 3-12 credits

Senior Year -
Spring Semester

BIOL 4010
Senior Thesis
3 credits

BIOL 4300
Seminar in Biology
1 credit