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Corals Under the Sea

Undergraduate research at the Nunez Lab

If you are interested in evolutionary biology, population genetics, computational biology, molecular evolution, fruit fly genetics, genomics of "weird marine critters", or  "all things barnacle"... undergraduate research at our lab is a great way to enrich your professional preparation at UVM. Feel free to contact Dr. Nunez to explore potential projects!


Whenever the lab has an existing project with undergraduate opportunities, these are often posted on the biology website (click here). Yet, you should still reach out to Dr. Nunez even if you don't see our lab listed on that website. We are always eager to work on new projects! Creativity and enthusiasm are always welcomed in our lab. 

Structure of Undergraduate Research at UVM

Any UVM student can pursue research credit in any affiliated College or Program within UVM.  Biological Science majors can apply up to 6 credits of biologically related research to their advanced life science elective requirement.  Levels of involvement include apprenticing, participating in the faculty member's (or their graduate student's) research, or developing a research project of your own. The level of involvement of each student as well as the number of research credits per semester (1 - 2 cr.; on rare occasions 3 cr.) depends on your career stage and individual assessment by Dr. Nunez.


For example:

First-year students:

Doing research can be a demanding commitment, especially for those who have no previous laboratory training. As such, first- and second-year students often first join the lab as "directed readings" students for one entire semester. In these cases, students will enroll in BIOL 1993 (for 1 credit) and work with Dr. Nunez to develop a literature review based on a list of core readings in evolutionary biology.

Second-year students:

Depending on previous experience, second-year students may join the lab as "directed readings" students (BIOL 1993; 1 cr.) or, as determined by Dr. Nunez, may start working on independent research and enroll in BIOL 2995 ( credits vary from 1-2 per semester). This involves developing an independent research project and/or honors thesis.

Juniors and Seniors:

Students who are more advanced in their programs (e.g., Juniors and Seniors), may enroll in BIOL 2995 (credits vary from 1-2 cr. per semester) or BIOL 3995 (also 1-2 cr. per semester) to complete a senior thesis or independent project. The overall distribution of semester credits for BIOL 2995/3995 may vary depending on several factors. Yet, they must not. exceed 6 credits in total.

Honors College Students:

Honors College students seeking to cross-list their BIOL 1993 or BIOL 2995/3995/4996 credits as an HCOL elective are responsible for submitting their request to the Honors College and their Degree-Granting College. This won't happen automatically.

All students interested in Summer Research must check out these competitive funding opportunities: 

Follow these steps to apply to the lab:

1. Make contact. Please send Dr. Nunez an email with ALL of the following information to joaquin.nunez [at]

  • Your name, UVM major, and how far along you are in the program.

  • Your most up-to-date transcript (if second-year or more advanced)

  • A resume or CV

  • A succinct description of what attracted you to this lab. Is there a particular aspect of our work that interests you?

  • Please note that we often don't review incomplete applications.

2.  Follow up with Dr. Nunez. Sometimes life gets very busy. So if you don't hear from Dr. Nunez in about a week (and your application was complete), feel free to send a quick follow-up.


3. An interview will take place in which we will discuss the dynamics of joining the lab.

During this interview Dr. Nunez, will ask you the following questions:

  1. Describe your career interests and goals

  2. Why would you like to volunteer in a biology research lab? What goal(s) do you want to have accomplished by the end of the position?

  3. Do you have other lab or job experience and/or any related positions?

  4. What do you believe is the most important thing our lab can offer you for your professional development? And, what do you think you will be able to offer to our lab?

  5. Do you participate in any kinds of science outreach activities? Or, what kinds of activities would you like to participate in the future? How do you think Science can give back to the community?

  6. Do you have a question for us about the lab?

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