Agricultural Biology Undergraduate Research Fellowship

The goal of the Agricultural Biology Undergraduate Research Fellowship is to engage undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds in scientific research in the Department of Agricultural Biology, in laboratories of their choice, during one full academic year, so that they can gain research experience that will prepare them for their future career endeavors.


student doing research

Application Deadline

November 15, 2022

About the Program

The Undergraduate Fellowship Program supports our undergraduate students so they can work on real scientific projects in Agricultural Biology labs. Our fellows can work in labs of their choice during one semester and one summer.

Do exciting research projects

And get paid for it!

$1,500 total per fellowship

Fellows get paid to do research!

Get professional mentoring

From your faculty and post-docs in the lab.

Who Can Apply?

Undergraduate students from any major can apply and there are no requirements on GPA. No previous experience is required either, just interest in science!

What Else Will You Learn?

Apart from learning science, the fellows will learn professional skills. These include CV building, presentation skills, leadership skills and organization skills, as well as information on pursuing graduate school.

How Does It Work?

Fellows are selected by a committee of faculty, and placed in laboratories of their choice, to perform mentored scientific research.

Fellows are paid an hourly stipend for working in research labs. At the end of the fellowship, students are required to present the results of their work at the CSU Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium.

How To Apply

Step # 1

Browse the available research project descriptions in different AgBio labs. Choose the lab and research project that interests you.

Step # 2

Download the application form and apply for the research project and lab of your choice. Agricultural Biology Undergraduate Fellowship Application Form

Step # 3

Email your fully completed application form to by the application deadline of November 15,2022.

When Will You Find Out If You Are Accepted?

You will hear about the results of your application by December 5th 2022.

When Will I Start My Fellowship?

Spring Semester 2023

Any questions?

Contact Dr. Cris Argueso:

Available Research Project Descriptions

Borowiec Lab

Principle Investigator: Marek Borowiec

Visit Borowiec Lab Website

Survey of ants of Pryor Mountains, Montana: Pryor Mountains in Carbon County of southern Montana have a distinct insect fauna, with recent records of species previously unknown from the US or Montana. Recently, honeypot ants were collected there, a first for the state of Montana, but the ant fauna of the area has not been characterized. A survey has the potential of turning up more species previously unknown to occur in Montana. This is a project for a motivated student interested in and capable of fieldwork and will require a few overnight trips to the locality (expenses covered). The mentored student will network with research entomologists, learn insect sampling and specimen curation techniques, gain basic ant identification skills, how to search for species records in the literature, collections, and in on-line databases. They will also learn how to write and publish a scientific note summarizing the results of the survey.

Hufbauer Lab

Principle Investigator: Ruth Hufbauer

Visit the Hufbauer Lab Website

How much of plants on tropical islands gets eaten? After WWII, the brown tree snake was introduced to the island of Guam and consumed nearly all the native birds. Because birds eat arthropods, the loss of birds may have cascading effects on the ecosystem. It is unclear how the loss of birds has influenced arthropods that eat plants (like caterpillars), and thus levels of herbivory. In this study, we are comparing rates of herbivory by arthropods between Guam and nearby islands that still have birds. The fellowship recipient will work with PhD student Marcel Jardeleza to measure the amount of insect feeding damage on the leaves to address our overarching question. As the leaves are from different types and plants and different habitats, there is also the opportunity to formulate additional questions that could be addressed with the dataset. We are looking for a student that can work independently and efficiently. Background in plants and lab experience are appreciated, but not required.

Leach Lab

Principle Investigator: Jan Leach

Visit Leach Lab Website

Identification of relevant transcriptional activation signatures in rice genes involved in biotic and abiotic stresses: The goal of our project is to understand how plants respond and adapt to combination of stresses. We are particularly interested in understanding how plants respond to pathogenic disease at high temperatures. Our aim to is identify genes involved in these responses and understand the molecular mechanisms that govern plant adaptation.

Nachappa Lab

Primary Investigator: Punya Nachappa

Visit Nachappa Lab Website

Dr. Nachappa’s research is focused on understanding plant-virus-insect vector relationships in crops that are of importance to Colorado agriculture including hemp, wheat, and sugar beets. The undergraduate research fellowship project will be centered around investigating whether beet curly top virus protects beet leafhopper vector from insecticides. To do this, the student will perform greenhouse and laboratory assays and molecular analysis to test for virus and insecticide levels. The student will be mentored by MS student, Max Schmidtbauer and Post-doc, Dr. Jinlong Han.

Nalam Lab

Principle Investigator: Vamsi Nalam

Visit the Nalam Website

Research in the Nalam lab focuses on understanding the physiological and molecular mechanisms underlining the interactions between plants and their biotic stressors. The undergraduate research fellowship will investigate the role of an alternative splice variant of a vital plant defense regulator. The student will learn and be trained in different cloning techniques, generation of transgenic plants, and plant-aphid assays. The student will be mentored by Drs. Vamsi Nalam (PI) and Jinlong Han (Post-doc).

Roberts Lab

Principle Investigator: Robyn Roberts

Visit the Roberts Lab Website

Climate change, drought, and plant stress apply pressure to field crops, and plant pathogens are continuously emerging because of these stresses. The Roberts lab uses a variety of molecular and applied techniques to study viruses that infect plants. The goals of the lab are to study how viruses emerge, how they make plants sick, and how we can improve plant immunity. The AgBio undergraduate fellow will learn and execute various plant biology research methods, from plant cultivation to molecular biology. The project will focus on separating two wheat viruses which are generally found together in a ‘virus complex’ and function in a synergistic manner in wheat. The fellow will learn inoculation techniques, DNA/RNA extraction, qPCR, and more.

Stewart Lab

Principle Investigator: Dr. Jane Stewart

Visit Stewart Lab Website

Research in the Stewart lab will be focused on understanding the mating type strategy of the fungal pathogens within the genus Cytospora that we have previously genome sequenced. This genetic data will be mined for mating type genes of Cytospora plurivora, a pathogen on peach, and Cytospora parasitica, a pathogen of apples, to determine if the same mating strategy is used in both species. This work will also entail primer development to characterize the mating types within a Cytospora plurivora population.

Szczepaniec Lab

Principle Investigator: Ada Szczepaniec

Visit Szczepaniec Lab

Documenting carnage on a minute scale: Impact of natural enemies on suppression of hemp russet mites: Hemp russet mites are one of the key pests of industrial hemp and their high densities can dramatically decrease hemp yield and quality of cannabinoids. The mites are difficult to suppress owing to their small size, which presents a challenge in early detection and contributes to sudden outbreaks of this pest. Further, few effective pesticides are available for the mites, many are not available for use in hemp system, and there are no published data regarding the efficacy of predatory insects and mites as a means of controlling hemp russet mites. As a result, russet mite management in the greenhouse and field is extremely challenging.

This project will focus on addressing lack of data on biological control and its feasibility in mite suppression and test a hypothesis that predators can effectively suppress hemp russet mites and maintain their densities at low levels. The experiments will consist of two components: a greenhouse experiment focused on determining whether natural enemies can effectively suppress hemp russet mites, and a laboratory experiment designed to test how the efficiency of predators changes with changing mite densities. Some predators excel at finding and consuming prey when prey densities increase, but others do not, and knowing how the predator efficiency changes is highly relevant to further research as well as management recommendations.