All IGERT students will be expected to complete an internship in industry, at a national laboratory, a foreign university, or an appropriate field site. These internships are essential because many newly developed protocols are not yet in the public record.

Our intention is to have students complete internships that are well integrated with the thesis research of the student. While the student is on an internship, he or she will be enrolled in the IGERT program and will receive Thesis credit (up to 12 credits per term). Students with internships at national labs and other sites with enhanced communications will enroll in the biweekly seminar for credit.

National laboratories or other U.S. universities may have some specialized, analytical instruments that exceed the capabilities at OSU and PSU, or have direct access to unique field sites. Internships at international facilities may also be an option and may be supported by International Travel funds.

Internships may be partially supported by external funds. The internships will be coordinated by the IGERT director in consultation with the student, the mentors, and the internship host/mentor.

Examples of IGERT Internships

National Laboratories:

Shawn R. Starkenburg, a fourth year IGERT PhD student in the Dept. of Microbiology at Oregon State University, completed an internship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the fall of 2004. His research is focused on understanding the biological processes of nitrification in soils and its application to wastewater treatment. Nitrification is mediated by two distinct bacterial groups, ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB), which are the subject of intensive study in the Arp and Bottomley labs at Oregon State University. Shawn's co-advisor, Dan Arp, received funding from DOE to have 5 nitrifying bacterial genomes sequenced in collaboration with research scientists at the Joint Genome Institute, Lawrence Livermore and Oakridge national laboratories. Mr. Starkenburg worked as a visiting collaborator with Patrick Chain, a staff research scientist at LLNL, to learn the process of genome sequencing and aid in the completion, closing and assembly of the Nitrobacter winogradskyi and Nitrobacter hamburgensis genomes. The internship enabled Mr. Starkenburg to gain valuable experience in the interdisciplinary field of bioinformatics, utilize resources and technology not available at OSU, and establish professional contacts with scientists at multiple government laboratories. Furthermore, the results of his research efforts will be incorporated into multiple manuscripts for publication, one of which being the subject for first chapter of his Ph.D. thesis. (Read about Shawn's internship on OSU's Subsurface Biosphere Center of Excellence web site: http://sbi.oregonstate.edu/news/200603.htm

International Internships:

Jessica C. Goin, a fifth year IGERT PhD student in the Department of Geology at Portland State University, interned with Dr. Nancy Hinman at the University of Montana-Geology

Project: Detection of organic compounds in hot spring waters.

For my internship I went to the University of Montana in Missoula to work with Dr. Hinman to develop techniques for determining organic acid concentrations in hot springs using HPLC. The first portion of this internship involved running multiple concentrations of Oxalic, Acetic and Citric acid and combinations of various concentrations on HPLC to predict detection limits. Comparing detection limits with literature values for organic acid levels predicted in hot springs indicates that Oxalic and Acetic acid should be detectable by this technique without pre-concentration. The second segment of this internship was a sampling trip to Yellowstone National Park with Dr. Hinman. This internship was a great experience as it introduced me to a very different aspect of hot springs research. Dr. Hinman was very helpful and a lot of fun to work with.

Dr. Hinman is also an advisor for the INRA - Subsurface Science graduate program, and while I was at the University of Montana I got to meet and speak with a group of INRA students. It was an interesting tie-in with our IGERT program, as their graduate students are at many institutions taking classes together through distance learning programs.

Mark E. Nielsen, a firth year IGERT PhD student in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, interned with Karsten Pedersen, Goteborg University, Dpt. of Cell & Molecular Biology, Microbiology in Goteborg, Sweden

Research Activities - The Aspo Hard Rock Laboratory is a unique facility for studying subsurface processes. The laboratory provides access for conducting experiments at depths of 452 meters in a fractured rock environment. My project consisted of a set of experiments to measure microbial nitrate reduction and lactate consumption at in situ
conditions. The experiments are based on push-pull methods developed at OSU in which a test solution of ground water and added electron donors and/or acceptors are injected. After an incubation period, the test solution is extracted and analyzed for consumption of the metabolizable components.

Results - Four modified push-pull experiments were conducted in which the test solution was injected into pressurized flow cells containing coupons for biofilm growth. The flow cells are contained in refrigerated cabinets connected to the aquifer, thus maintaining in situ conditions. We detected and were able to quantify both nitrate reduction and lactate consumption. A manuscript describing the experiments and results has been submitted for publication and is
currently under review.

This international research experience has been a highlight of my graduate studies. The trip exposed me to a different culture and introduced me to researchers from all over the world. The length of the trip (two months) allowed me to get comfortable with my surrounding and to explore the country. I also valued the chance to learn how research
and graduate education is conducted in Europe. I was able to complete a set of defined experiments that I have been able to present at conferences and prepare for publication. (Read about Mark's internship on OSU's Subsurface Biosphere of Excellence web site:
http://sbi.oregonstate.edu/news/200612)