Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences Division of Life Sciences

Undergraduate Research

Research in Genetics

Undergraduate Genetics Majors interested in my areas of research are welcome to contact me about opportunities to register for Research in Genetics in my laboratory.  At this time we do not have space to offer research experiences for non-majors.  Please also note that we do not accept students for summer-only experiences. 

Some FAQs about undergraduate research in our lab:

What projects are available?

My laboratory currently has computational research opportunities in psychiatric genetics available for undergraduate Genetics majors. Interested students can download the description for this starting research project. 

How do I join the lab?

We conduct interviews of interested students during the first few weeks of each semester. Email Dr. Brzustowicz to set one up. Students who have backgrounds and interests that seem a good match for our lab are then invited for an approximately two month trial in the lab, working as part of a small team. After this trial, students who do well will be invited to register for Research in Genetics. Students can begin research for credit the next semester or at a later date.

What are my chances of getting in?

We usually have 2-3 times as many students as we have available spots. Students with a demonstrated interest in psychiatric disorders or computational work generally have an edge. Most of our undergraduate students are psychology minors. Some have prior coding experience, although this is not necessary. The majority of students who complete the trial are invited to join the lab. If there is not enough room for you to do the trial, there may be a spot the following semester, so try again if you are still interested.

How long can I stay?

Due to the increased demand for Research in Genetics, students will initially be accepted into the lab for credit for two semesters, to complete their Genetics research requirement.  Students with excellent performance, including those planning to complete an Honors Thesis, will be invited to return the following year. 

What if I want to do an Honors Thesis?

We encourage students interested in doing honors research to join the lab early, ideally no later than their sophomore year. Students will typically spend their junior year doing research for credit and learning about our projects, analysis methods, and data resources and building the computational and data management skills to work independently. Students will then have the opportunity to independently work on one of a number of possible psychiatric genetic data analysis projects for their thesis research. The student will have the opportunity to take an active role in defining the specific focus of the project, given the available datasets.


Some prior honors projects:

Reshma Thomas '19: Copy Number Variations (CNV) Burden in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Associated Disorders

Priya Kantesaria '16: Altered miRNA Expression as a Result of the 22q11.2 Deletion in Schizophrenia

Karen Law '14: Linking Genotypes to Autism Phenotypes for the New Jersey Language and Autism Genetics Study

Sean Ryan '14: Disruption of miRNA Profiles Due to Haploinsufficiency of the DGCR8 Gene May Result in Elevated Rate of Schizophrenia

Ariane Seto '13: Fine Mapping and Association Analysis of Candidate Genes for Autism Spectrum Disorders in a Sample Ascertained for Language Impairment

Nicole Reich '12: Identifying Functional Variants Involved in Schizophrenia Risk

Jennifer Przybylski '12: A Myriad of Questions: Do Gene Patents Help or Hinder Genetic Research?

Heidi Chen '11: Genes Associated with Schizophrenia Susceptibility in Individuals with 22qDS