Friesen Lab Undergrad Research Position Opening

There is a new position opening for freshman and sophomore undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in scientific research. Read the full position description.

Friesen Lab Undergrad Research Position Description

Research Motivation:

The atmosphere is four/fifths nitrogen gas. This noble gas is almost entirely unwilling to break its N-N bond to produce biologically useful forms without the action of an enzyme that is only found in bacteria and archaea. Diazotrophs (“di-nitrogen-eaters”) are bacteria and archaea that are found to associate with many plants, including important legume and grass crops. Diazotrophs are able to “fix” nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it to a more usable form that plants can use to grow. Our lab has ongoing work isolating diazotrophs and other potentially beneficial microbes from plants in both wild and agricultural systems. Understanding these interactions is important because if plants can fix their own nitrogen, farmers may not need to apply nitrogen fertilizer to these crops, saving the farmers money and reducing nitrogen pollution in the environment.

Position Description:

This position is available for a freshman or sophomore undergraduate student who is interested in pursuing a career in scientific research, broadly defined. You will join a growing collaborative research team and contribute to ongoing lab projects while developing a personalized set of skills that could include plant biology, phenomics, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genomics, bioinformatics, mathematical modeling, data analysis, programming, statistics and data analysis, scientific writing, and scientific communication. You will have the opportunity to develop independent research projects within the scope of the lab’s research program as well as opportunities to present research at scientific meetings and be an author on scientific manuscripts. The position requires a minimum commitment of 10 hours per week and could last for the duration of your undergraduate degree, including more intensive summer experiences that could include field research in California or Michigan.

About the Friesen Lab:

We work on the ecological and evolutionary genomics of beneficial plant-microbe symbioses. We focus on legumes and nitrogen-fixing bacteria to explore questions about how plants structure their microbiomes and enforce mutualistic microbial behavior, how plant-microbe interactions evolve during the invasion of novel habitats, and the role of microbial communities in plant biodiversity and ecosystem function. We strongly value diversity and work to foster a supportive and inclusive research environment. For more information:


To apply, send a merged PDF file containing: your current CV/resume, statement of interest and career goals, unofficial transcript, and 3 references to with the subject line “Friesen Lab Undergrad Research”. Note that you do not need to have research experience to be competitive for this position, we are looking for someone with potential who will be a great addition to our excellent team! We will begin interviews September 13th, so please apply by then for full consideration.