National Genomics Research Initiative (NGRI) Honors Research Course

Hope College is participating in an exciting exploration of viruses that infect bacteria as part of a national effort to give first year college students a true understanding of what it means to do science. The course is called "Phage Genomics Research" and is part of the National Genomics Research Initiative led by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (NGRI).

It's been a great learning experience and it's almost unreal that undergraduate freshman get to participate in research like we are doing with phage. — Amanda Porter '15


Hope has been selected as one of only 12 colleges and universities in the nation to participate in this program, providing you an opportunity that is unique and contributes to significant scientific inquiry into the biology of viruses.

  • A two-semester honors course on leading edge research in viral genomics.
  • We intend to enroll 40 students in this selective opportunity.
  • The course will focus on (phage) viruses that infect bacteria. Students will spend the fall semester conducting molecular research with two of our Ph.D. faculty members. They will collect a virus from the environment and then isolate, purify and amplify its DNA. The DNA will be sent to the national genome sequencing center to prepare phage DNA libraries and sequence the DNA over the semester break. In the spring semester students will receive the DNA sequence data and reconstruct and annotate the sequence using techniques of bioinformatics.
  • If admitted to the course, students will earn 4 credits as an alternative lab experience to the Introductory Biology labs, while still enrolled in Introductory Biology lecture. If a student scores a 4 or 5 on the AP exam he/she may earn 4 Biology credits in place of second semester Introductory Biology lecture (Biol 106), while still taking NGRI.  Students will be expected to enroll in both semesters of the honors course.
  • HHMI, a non-profit medical research organization that ranks as one of the nation's largest philanthropies, plays a powerful role in advancing biomedical research and science education in the U.S. In the past two decades HHMI has made investments of more than $8.3 billion for the support, training, and education of the nation's most creative and promising scientists.
  • See HHMI article for more information about the initiative.

Please submit your application and letter of recommendation online by March 3, 2014.

Apply for the NGRI Honors Research Course »