Boyce Thompson Institute



Undergraduate and high school summer internships at BTI, Cornell University and the USDA provide an excellent opportunity to gain research experience and explore if a scientific career is right for you. Currently we offer positions to outstanding students interested in Plant Genome Research, Bioinformatics and Bioenergy Education. Applications are accepted annually from November until the first Friday of February. Accepted students join an international community of scientists and students in the pursuit of scientific discovery, learn valuable research skills, and attend seminars and workshops to learn from leaders in these fields. Read below to find out more.

Watch a video to hear past interns and their mentors discuss their research experiences at BTI.

Plant Genome Internship

Undergraduate and high school students participate in the Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) summer internship program and learn how basic plant research can be applied to protect the environment, enhance human health, and improve agriculture. PGRP interns gain knowledge of plant genomics and scientific research by working closely with scientists, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in a laboratory setting. PGRP interns learn the latest molecular biology techniques and bioinformatics tools while working on a supervised, independent research project within the framework of the assigned laboratory’s research program.

Bioinformatics Internship

To understand complex biological systems, interdisciplinary research teams are essential. At the BTI, plant molecular biologists and computer scientists are working together at the forefront of biological discovery to solve real world problems. Scientists trained in both fields will be leading the way, especially as research technologies continue to advance and information within massive datasets need to be unlocked to solve 21st century challenges.

With novel technologies researchers now can access entire genome sequences, and the details of the proteome, transcriptome, and metabolome to better understand biological systems and interactions. Though full of information, the size and complexity of these datasets pose new challenges for scientists and society. The growing field of bioinfor-matics addresses these challenges, by focusing on the development and application of computational methods to decode, analyze, interpret and apply useful information within these data.

Bioinformatics interns will focus on developing computational tools and resources to store, analyze and integrate large scale plant “omics” datasets. The program offers a unique interdisciplinary training in plant genome research, computer programming and systems biology. Students applying for these internships should have some prior experience with computer programming skills, biology, bioinformatics, and a demonstrated interest in the subject. These students will receive special, intensive training at the beginning of the internship and work closely with a team of scientists and postdoctoral researchers.

Bioenergy Education Internship

The Bioenergy Education Internship is for students (undergraduate through postdoctoral) interested in gaining interdisciplinary experience in scientific research and science education related to bioenergy and sustainability. Like all BTI internships, this program engages students in plant biology research, but with a focus on translating the research into resources, presentations and activities to promote public understanding of science.Bioenergy interns participate in intensive trainings, workshops, seminars and outreach activities to learn fundamental concepts in the following areas:

  • Bioenergy and bioproducts from biomass
  • Systems thinking and sustainability
  • Environmental stewardship and policy
  • Science learning and curriculum development
  • Science teaching and communication

The Bioenergy Education Intern will design, pilot and produce an educational activity or resource based on their research project. Visit Education Resources to see past intern projects.

High School Internship

Local high school students are at least 16 years of age at the start of the program are eligible to apply for a 6-week internship. Housing is not provided for high school students and students must provide their own transportation to and from BTI each day. High School interns receive stipends, but are not provided housing, travel or meal allowances. High School interns are supported by the generosity of local donors.

High school graduates who are at least 18 years of age and are enrolled in an undergraduate institution in the fall are eligible to apply as undergraduates. Housing, travel and meal allowances are provided for those undergraduate interns.



Internships are funded by the National Science Foundation, Research Experiences for Undergraduates Award #1358843, the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture Award #2011-67009-30055, individual faculty grants, and the generosity of local donors including the Ithaca Garden Club.


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