Announcing VCU Student Research Weeks!

It is our pleasure to announce VCU Student Research Weeks 2014!  Beginning this Thursday, VCU hosts a series of events that bring together undergraduates, graduate students and faculty from across disciplines to celebrate research and creative scholarly projects. Events will take place April 10th-25th. A schedule of events and locations can be found at the website below.

Projects span many academic disciplines, including work from Community Engagement, the College of Humanities and Sciences and the schools of Allied Health Professions, Arts, Business, Education, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Interdisciplinary Studies. Students will be available to demonstrate and discuss their projects in a variety of presentations.  I hope you will join us for this exciting series of events!

For more information, contact me at or view the online schedule with full details and clickable links here:

RW 2014s

Lab uses 3-D printing to make historical artifact chess sets

photo 1-featureBy Brian McNeill

University Public Affairs

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Over the past month, a Virginia Commonwealth University lab has been using 3-D scanning and printing technology to create chess sets, with each piece a 3-D-printed replica of historical artifacts found at archeological digs at Jamestown, Mount Vernon, Montpelier, Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest and elsewhere.

“Sometimes when you’re scanning, it’s kind of boring. It takes about 20 minutes to scan an artifact,” said Bernard Means, Ph.D., director of VCU’s Virtual Curation Laboratory. “So we thought, you know, it’d be kind of fun to make chess pieces out of items from archeological sites.”

The lab was launched in 2011 as part of the Department of Defense’s Legacy Resource Management Program, which aims to preserve the United States’ natural and culture heritage, including through archeological investigations. The lab’s mission is to use its NextEngine 3-D scanner to digitally scan artifacts and animal bones, creating a virtual catalog of historical objects and allowing them to be replicated via a 3-D printer. The lab is part of the School of World Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences.

The chess sets, Means said, are proving to be an excellent way of engaging the public, students and others interested in archaeology and the lab’s 3-D scanning technology.

“We’re finding that it’s a really great way to interact with the public because they can watch you play chess and then you can describe each individual piece,” he said.


In one of the chess sets, each piece is a 3-D plastic replica of artifacts from 1607 to 1610 found at a dig at the Jamestown Settlement.

The pawn of the Jamestown set is a scaled-down model of a bust based on the skull of a 14- or 15-year-old boy killed by an arrow in 1607. The bust was recently on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

“He was killed by an arrow from an American Indian, so they call him ‘Arrow Point Boy,’” Means said. “We scanned him and made him our pawn.”

The Jamestown set’s king is a “Bartmann” jug fragment, or German stoneware depicting a “Bartmann,” which means “wild man.” “They’re bearded figurines,” Means said. “Some of them are really stern. They have a lot of them at Jamestown.”

The queen is a jeweler’s mold of an embossed pelican standing on a pedestal.

“[The Jamestown settlement] brought a jeweler over very early on, but then he disappears from the historical record,” Means said

The Jamestown set’s knight is a 3-D model of a butchered dog mandible. The jawbone has cut marks indicating that settlers likely ate the dog, and the bone dates to the Jamestown settlement’s “starving time” in the winter of 1609-10.

Read the rest of Brian McNeill’s article on the VCU News site.

Call for Applications: Molecular Biology Lab Skills Bootcamp!

IMG_0130On behalf of the VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities program and the Center on Health Disparities Research Training Programs we welcome you to submit an application to participate in the 2014 “Molecular Biology Lab Skills Bootcamp” to be held May 12-16, 2014.  This bootcamp is supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), the VCU Bridges to the Baccalaureate program, the VCU MARC and IMSD programs, and the VCU Office of Research.  This opportunity is offered free of cost to you.

We have designed a week-long immersion course to prepare students, to enter a molecular research lab for the first time.  The purpose of the course is to provide a snapshot of lab skills to help overcome challenges faced by student researchers who are new to a laboratory setting.  Our goal is to help you assimilate to the lab environment faster, which will not only contribute to your fundamental research skills, but will also make you more attractive as a candidate for student research experiences as you continue your undergraduate career.

This is not a credit course, but successful students will be awarded a certificate upon completion of the program.  Please note that you must make arrangements for your own housing during the ‘Bootcamp’, and 9 month dorms will be closed during this period.

We will give preference to the following students to whom some of the following apply: Four or more remaining semesters at VCU, no previous lab experience (outside of classes), desire to pursue a graduate degree. Students who transferred to VCU from community colleges in the Fall 2013 are strongly encouraged to apply. We will show preference to those who have secured or are seeking a summer research experience.

There are no prerequisites for this experience.

Applications review will be on a rolling basis priority will go to applications received by April 1st.  Apply online:

If you already have significant experience in a research laboratory, or you think that this course may not be for you.  Please contact Dr. Sarah Golding ( directly, so that we can discuss your experience and make an appropriate decision.

Abstract DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 3/21 – VCU Poster Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creativity

Organized by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and part of VCU Student Research Week, the annual Undergraduate Poster Symposium is a wonderful opportunity for students to present their research endeavors to their academic peers, members of the VCU faculty, community members, and friends and family.  All undergrads from every discipline are encouraged to present and attend.  Presentations may be for completed research projects, completed papers, or research in progress.

Projects involving creative work such as prose or poetry, performances, and artwork will be considered for acceptance if they are part of a scholarly project undertaken by the student.  We are currently accepting poster abstracts up until the new deadline of March 21st, 2014.  All abstracts should be submitted to

After students are notified of their acceptance, we will accept early electronic file submission of posters for any student who wishes to have their poster printed free of charge.   Note: We hold poster workshops Jan. – Mar.

Abstracts should include: Name/Major of student, Name/Dept. of Faculty Mentor, Title of research Project, Brief description of research project.  All inquiries to


Spit For Science Seeking Undergraduate Research Assistants for Fall 2014


Spit for Science: the VCU Student Survey ( is a university-wide research opportunity for VCU students. The goal of the project is to understand how genetic and environmental factors come together to influence a variety of health-related outcomes in the VCU undergraduate population. A big focus is on substance use and emotional health problems, such as depression, since the life stage that college students are entering is a high risk period for the onset of these problems. We’re currently looking for students to be a part of the research team for Fall Semester 2014. Research assistants will be involved in recruitment, marketing, data collection and analysis, and other research activities. Students will work in teams to develop research questions and analyze Spit for Science data. Meetings will be held with different faculty involved in the project where students will review research papers and learn about topics related to the goals of the research.

Required class meetings will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:50-5:20 PM in the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics conference room (located in Biotech 1, 800 E. Leigh Street on the MCV campus), which can be easily reached from the Monroe Park campus via the free Campus Connector. Students at all class levels are welcome to apply. Enrollment will be for three credits (A-F grading system). If interested, please contact Dr. Amy Adkins,, for further details. The application deadline is Monday, March 24 at 5:00 PM.

UROP Poster Workshop Sessions

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The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program will be hosting poster sessions on:

Thursday, February 27th at 3pm in room 2126 of Harris Hall 

Thursday, March 6th at 3pm in room 2126 of Harris Hall

Wednesday, March 19th at 3pm in room 2126 of Harris Hall

Wednesday, March 26th at 3pm in room 2126 of Harris Hall

The workshops will focus on the significance of a poster as a vehicle for research presentation while covering some of the technical aspects of poster creation from design to printing.

Completion of the workshop will assist in preparing undergrads to present their work, whether for the Poster Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creativity taking place on campus April 23rd, 2014, or for any other national conferences related to undergraduate research.

If you would like to workshop your poster, but are unable to attend any of the announced sessions, please contact Herb Hill at to schedule an alternate meeting time.

Nominate your Faculty Mentor for an Undergraduate Research Mentorship Award!

hubbard_jpgAre you a VCU undergraduate student who is currently conducting research under an awesome faculty member at VCU?  Do you know a professor or faculty member who goes above and beyond to create research opportunities for undergraduate students?  If so, nominate them for a UROP Faculty Mentorship Award so we can acknowledge their contributions!

Go to: to submit a statement of no more than 500 words explaining why the chosen nominee deserves an outstanding mentorship award. Please use specific examples that detail your nominee’s contribution to undergraduate research at VCU.

Consider the following criteria in your nomination:

• How has the nominee enhanced the skills related to undergraduate research in their discipline?

• How has the nominee expanded the knowledge base of student researchers?

• How has the nominee assisted undergraduates in their engagement with research?

• How has the nominee guided students in the acquisition of research presentation skills?

• What lasting impression has the nominee made on students’ future academic and professional plans?

Email Herb Hill at with any questions.

REMINDER: Deadline approaching for 2014 Summer Fellowships for Undergraduate Research at VCU!

In addition to our annual UROP Fellowship for Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship, we are very pleased to announce a number of new funded fellowship opportunities for undergraduates interested in conducting research during the summer of 2014!  Below you will find a brief description for each fellowship opportunity with a link to the full description. Students and faculty mentors from all disciplines are encouraged to apply!  Deadline for proposals is March 1st, 2014.  Feel free to direct any questions to Herb Hill at


Global Education Undergraduate Research Fellowships

For the summer of 2014 the Global Education Office will fund three unique undergraduate fellowship awards for research projects, mentored by VCU faculty. Research proposals should show evidence of significant engagement with a culture originating from outside of the US that is different from the applicant’s native culture. Successful proposals should exhibit how the project will increase the student researcher’s knowledge, skills and experience to demonstrate successfully functioning across a variety of borders, such as national, linguistic, cultural, religious, and/or others. Each fellowship award includes $1500 in funding for the student and $500 for the faculty mentor.  For details and to apply visit:  

cctrUndergraduate Fellowships for Clinical and Translational Research

For the summer of 2014 the VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research will fund one undergraduate research fellowship award for a clinical translational research project focused on human health and mentored by a VCU faculty member. A clinical translational research project is one that aims to translate scientific discoveries into improved human health and wellness. Successful proposals must discuss how the project will increase the student researcher’s knowledge, skills and experience while simultaneously attempting to advance human health through clinical research. Each fellowship award includes $1500 in funding for the student and $500 for the faculty mentor.  For details and to apply visit:

DCEUndergraduate Fellowships for Community Engaged and Translational Research

For the summer of 2014 the Division of Community Engagement and the Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) will fund three undergraduate community-engaged research fellowship awards for research projects mentored by VCU faculty and carried out in collaboration with a community partner. Proposals for this fellowship should include a community-engaged research project that creates and disseminates knowledge or creative expression with the goal of contributing to the discipline and strengthening the well-being of the community. At least one of these fellowships will be awarded to a project that focuses on the advancement of human health.  Each fellowship award includes $1500 in funding for the student and $500 for the faculty mentor.  For details and to apply visit:


VCU Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Summer Fellowships

For the Summer of 2014, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) will fund a limited number of undergraduate student fellowship awards for projects mentored by VCU faculty. Successful student applicants will receive a cash stipend of $1,500 and $500 for the faculty mentor.  Applicants must submit an online application no later than March 1st, 2014 for review.  For details and to apply visit: