Psychology Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Social Experiences, Health, and Your Genome

To find out about this 499 opportunity contact:

Contact name: Sierra Sams

Faculty Information

Faculty Advisor:
Department: Psychology

Does faculty advisor meet with students?

If yes, how often? biweekly

Direct supervisor of students:

Sierra Sams
Supervisor Title: Lab Manager
Will 499 students participate in weekly or biweekly discussions sessions about research or project?

Short Project Description

The SMack (Snyder-Mackler) Lab is an interdisciplinary animal behavior lab interested in understanding how the environment and our social experiences “get under the skin” to alter our health and how we age. We study this using a combination of molecular, behavioral, and bioinformatic techniques to probe the lives of some of our closest living relatives: nonhuman primates. RAs will assist with generating cutting-edge molecular genomic and physiological data, sample database management, and other laboratory tasks. Responsibilities will also include assisting with laboratory safety and maintenance checks. Most importantly, RAs will be active intellectual members of the SMack Lab, which means immersing themselves in the scientific literature and participating in weekly lab meetings and journal clubs. Through this research experience, RAs will have the opportunity to learn about the most recent molecular genetic techniques and add valuable skills to their toolkits. Undergraduates in the lab work alongside our diverse lab members to generate data, formulate their own projects, and have been awarded many research grants from the University of Washington. Whether you are looking for your first research experience, or to build on previous experience, this may be a great opportunity for you.

Work Schedule

Min. number of hours/weekstudent must work: 9
Evenings/weekends OK? No
Times a student must bepresent/work:
Student commitment: 1 quarter, but 2 consecutive quarters are preferred

499 Responsibilities

Working with Data Working with Subjects Working with Animals/physiology
10 % data entry % video taping % animal care
10 % database management % interview subjects % animal observation
10 % encoding data % scheduling appt % surgical techniques
% library research % running subjects % histology
20 % data collection % child care 50 % laboratory protocols
% recruiting subjects


Skills / Experience Preferred

Meticulous record keeping; Organized; Effective communicator; Experience with computer programming (Python/R) a plus; Background Molecular Biology\genetic knowledge not necessary