Virginia Tech®home

Computationally-Driven Experimental Biology

Students employ High Performance Computing Resources.
CDEB students presenting their research at the end of summer 2019


Why Apply

This program offers the rare chance to receive both biology and computer science training. If you don’t have training in both, that’s not a problem. You will have it when you leave!

Join our research team

Involving students in multiple aspects of a single research project brings exposure to real-life team science; how computer science, mathematics, and experimental cell biology all play an integral role in studying cellular processes and discovery of new data. Students will spend 4-5 weeks at Colorado State University learning about yeast genetics and performing experiments to create yeast mutants and characterize their phenotypes. In the second half of the program, they will transition to Virginia Tech to build computational models of yeast cellular processes and to analyze their experiments. Their experience will culminate with a  presentation about their research and findings to peers and faculty at the Virginia Tech Research Symposium on July 29, 2021 with other summer students.

Train with top-tier technology experts

You will train with experts in bioinformatics, computational biology, mathematical modeling and synthetic biology including Dr. T. M. Murali and Dr. Jean Peccoud.

Poster Presentation 9Steger Hall Conference Center)

Program Structure, Opportunities, and Resources

During this 10-week summer program, Drs. Murali and Peccoud will introduce undergraduate students to experimental yeast genetics, computational modeling, and network biology algorithms. Students will apply the techniques they learn to create and characterize mutant strains of yeast,  to analyze their results in the context of yeast signaling networks, and learn how to post these networks to GraphSpace. Students will also have the opportunity to build mathematical models of yeast signaling and cell cycle and learn how to simulate them and make testable predictions.

Computationally-Driven Experimental Biology Summer Program Structure

  • 10 weeks from May 24 to July 30, 2021
  • ***Weeks 1-5 - Learn yeast genetics and make and characterize mutants (May 24–June 25; this work will be done at Colorado State University; students will then travel to Virginia Tech)
  • ***Weeks 6-9 - Analyze experimental results using network algorithms. Build mathematical models of yeast pathways (June 28–July 23; this work will be done at Virginia Tech)
  • ***Week 10 - Present poster at REU research symposium at Virginia Tech (July 29th)
  • Team research with dedicated faculty and fellow student-researchers
  • Housing and board provided at Colorado State University and Virginia Tech (dorm and campus dining plan where applicable, we make arrangements)
  • Travel to/from Colorado State University/Virginia Tech where applicable (we make arrangements)
  • $4,000 Stipend provided
GSC : Ion Torrent IonS5

Application Requirements

Participants will be expected to meet the following requirements:

  • Applications are due Jan. 31, 2021
  • Demonstrate an academic background in biology and/or computer science. We welcome applicants majoring in fields such as computer science, biology, bioinformatics, systems biology, and related areas.
  • Be an undergraduate attending a US university. Rising seniors for fall 2021 are encouraged to apply.
  • Be available from May 24th through July 30st for the program (please do not plan on leaving for personal leave anytime during the program, i.e. vacation). Students should plan on arriving on campus the day before and leaving the day after the program ends.
  • Submit a copy of an unofficial transcript and resume at the time of application.
  • Submit the name/emails of 2 faculty that can provide a recommendation at the time of application. We will contact them to provide an online recommendation.  
  • Display necessary qualities for working both independently and within a diverse team structure: high motivation, good communication skills, and strong work ethic.


Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Computationally-Driven Experimental Biology summer program is a partnership between Virginia Tech and Colorado State University that allows students from both biological and computer science backgrounds to work at the intersection of both disciplines.

National Science Foundation Award : DBI-1759858


Kristy Collins, Ph.D.
Kids' Tech University and Undergraduate Programs
(540) 231-1389