Graduate Research

Current Research Concentrations



Congratulations to Amanda Burmeister (Marriott lab) who was honored with the 2019 Dean's Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Biology. Well deserved.

Anindita Ghosh, PhD successfully defended her dissertation and 48 hrs later moved to Houston to begin her medical residency in the Dept of Pathology and Lab Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at the Houston McGovern Medical School in conjunction with MD Anderson.

Remi Ketchum, a PhD student in the laboratory group of Dr.Reitzel, was awarded a NSF GROW Fellowship. This fellowship provides the funding for a 3-month research experience at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan.  Remi will be working with perhaps the world's leader in marine invertebrate genomics, Nori Satoh, in a project to perform whole genome comparisons of recently speciated sea urchins.  There is another article featureing our graduate students in Inside UNCC . The article highlights graduate students studying cancer featuring Priyanka Grover, Nitika, and Katherine Holtzman:

Neha Mittal a PhD student in Dr. Bao-Hua Song's lab has been honored by the International Society of Chemical Ecology. She received a travel award to attend the annual meeting, and received top honors in the Poster Competition sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry. This award includes a certificate of 100 British pounds.

Jordan Connors in Dr. Eugenia Lo's lab was selected to participate in the 2019 Graduate Data Science Summer Program (GDSSP) at the National Institutes of Health this summer June 3rd - August 9th working on a collaborative malaria project on Plasmodium gametocyte.

UNC charlotte Annual Graduate Research Symposium April 15, 2020

GRS abstract deadline is quickly approaching on February 24th  It is a great opportunity to share your research with students from every discipline across the university, not to mention there are cash prizes for several categories of presentations (both poster and oral).
More information about GRS can be found at the following website:


Annual biological sciences symposium april 3, 2020 

The event will start at 3:00 PM. Dr. Hengli Tang from Florida State University will be our Keynote Speaker. His talk is titled “Modeling ZIKV infection using human stem cell-derived 2D and 3D cultures”. Abstracts due to Laura Knighton by March 13th. Students both graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to present a poster. If you are interested in giving a Flash Talk, a short powerpoint presentation, at the symposium please let Laura Knighton know by March 13th, but keep in mind there is a limited number of spots for these.

UNC CHarlotte research fellowship opportunities

The Graduate School Summer Fellowship Program (GSSF): 

Purpose: To provide students with financial support during a time when they may be most productive yet have the fewest funding options: the summer. Students will utilize the three summer months to dedicate significant effort to their research project, thereby making timely progress to the degree. The GSSF is designed to replace a TA or other summer job that takes the student away from their research. The award will provide $6,000 ($2,000 per month) paid at the end of May, provided eligibility has been met. Fill out the online application form by 11:59 pm on March 1st, 2020.  Upload your Project Proposal and other application components with the form.


  • Doctoral student
  • Enrolled full-time in the 2019-2020 academic year with GASP support
  • Pass qualifying exam and proposal defense by May 15th, 2020
  • Hold an eligible graduate assistantship in the 2020 fall semester (if a student defends "early" and thus does not need a Fall assistanship, the Graduate School will not ask for money reimbusement)
  • GPA 3.0 or greater
  • Will not hold a summer job or assistantship
  • You are eligible to apply for the GSSF even if you have had it before.

Application Components and Procedure

  • Project Proposal: Prepare a proposal for your summer project – written for someone in your field. Limit your proposal to 800 words, not including references or figure legends.

    It must include:

  1. ·         An introduction to the current state of the field,
  2. ·         The significance and novelty of the project,
  3. ·         Gaps in knowledge and questions/hypotheses to be addressed,
  4. ·         Tools used to address them,
  5. ·         Potential significance of the outcome to your field of study.   
  • Timeline: Submit a timeline illustrating your plans for completing the project.  The timeline may include dates beyond the summer, leading to your graduation.
  • Time to Degree: Indicate your year and semester of anticipated graduation.
  • Letter of Support: Ask your PhD advisor to send an email in support of your application, and confirming his/her availability to provide support (direction, advising, supervision, mentoring) over the summer.

A committee will review applications and provide decisions no later than April 15th, 2020.

Criteria for Awarding the GSSF.

  • Quality of proposal:

a.    Explanation of novelty and significance of the proposal:  Introduction to the field, why it is important; Gap in knowledge identified

b.    Hypotheses or questions the project aims to answer:  How will the above be tested/answered? Novel approaches or techniques identified

c.     Overall significance of the project articulated (not judging the significance, but the student’s ability to articulate a significance)

  •  Letter of support

a.    Advisor’s level of commitment to the student’s summer research

b.    Advisor’s ability to mentor/guide/work with the student

  • Progress since last year’s GSSF, if student participated in 2018 and/or 2019


Summer 2020. The $5,000 summer fellowship is designed for doctoral students who have completed their qualifying/comprehensive exam but need summer support to help develop and/or complete their dissertation proposals. The purpose of the fellowship is to allow students to work on their dissertation project proposals, and any necessary research, in order to successfully defend their project proposals in upcoming semesters. This is a very competitive fellowship; many more students are eligible than we can fund. Fill out the application form by April 1st, 2020, 11:59 pm (

Doctoral (PhD) students who meet the following criteria are invited to apply:

  • Are in good standing with a cumulative 3.0 GPA or above
  • Enrolled full-time in Spring 2020 and plan to be enrolled full-time in Fall 2020
  • Have or will successfully complete their comprehensive exam by May 15th, 2020
  • Have not completed their project proposal defense
  • Have completed the proposal defense course(s) for their programs, if required
  • Must agree to not hold a TA during the summer.  An RA is allowable, only with the student’s dissertation advisor.

Benefits of Participation:

  • Students receive a fellowship award of $5,000, divided equally in the first half term and second half term of the summer semester, in addition to any assistantship stipend they may receive from their academic unit (RA with dissertation advisor only).
  • Students will prepare a draft of their dissertation proposal, and upload it into the application form by July 17th, 11:59pm, 2020. The second payment of the fellowship requires this draft upload that meets the minimum requirements. Dissertation proposal drafts must be a minimum length of 7 pages, including citations (bibliography), and may be prose or a detailed outline.
  • The student will be required to attend a session at the Center for Graduate Life, or the Writing Resources Center, for professional feedback and editing help to develop a second draft of the proposal. We will communicate the details to awardees.

Application components

  • C. V.
  • Letter of support from dissertation advisor, explaining:
    • Specific steps for the student to complete the proposal
    • Evaluation of the student’s timeline – is it appropriate?
    • Planned supervision of the student over the summer
  1. Letter of interest, including:
    1. Introduction to their field of study and its importance
    2. Known gaps to be addressed by the student
    3. A timeline to proposal defense including any progress made to date
    4. Proposal course required for the degree program, if any, and when it was completed
    5. Challenges to completing the proposal and possible solutions to address them
    6. No more than 500 words 

What are the selection criteria?

  • Is the student making good progress toward their degree?
  • Does the student have support for the summer from their dissertation advisor?
  • Is the student’s letter of interest of high quality, having addressed all the components and staying within the word limit?

Lucille P. and Edward C. Giles Dissertation-Year Graduate Fellowship

The Giles Dissertation-Year Fellowship is awarded to promising students in the final stages of their doctoral work who demonstrate strong potential to make a significant contribution to society by completing the terminal degree in their chosen discipline. The purpose of the fellowship is to allow students to focus full-time on the dissertation, thus improving quality and shortening the time required to complete the doctoral degree. Lucille Giles valued graduate education and established this fellowship in 1990 to support graduate students in the STEM programs. Mrs. Giles earned a master’s degree in chemistry and had a special interest in the sciences. Deadline is May 18, 2020. Students create an application profile through the University Scholarship Office’s NinerScholars Portal at will be matched to the Giles Fellowship based on initial eligibility criteria. If the students feel that they meet the additional requirements for the Fellowship, they can then apply for the award. (Note--this year 2020 applications MAY be directed directly to the Graduate School; as this information is clear the Graduate Programs Director will post information.)

 Award Amount: $20,000 fellowship plus $1,000 for travel. Includes health insurance, and full tuition, and fees (does not include tuition increments)


  • Continuing, full-time doctoral students with at least 42 hours of graduate coursework completed
  • Demonstrated academic excellence
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Evidence that funding is suficient for completing degree

Application Requirements:

            1.     Half-page autobiographical sketch
            2.     Two-page (maximum) dissertation synopsis written for a “lay audience;” synopsis must address significance of the student’s research to a field of study listed in Appendix
                    of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Fields of Study 
            3.    Academic timeline with projected date of completion
            4.     Letter of support from student’s advisor addressing how student meets program objectives and eligibility requirements (three-page limit)
            5.     Letter of endorsement from Graduate Program Director

Departmental Graduate Student Research Recognitions

Each May at the Annual Biological Sciences Symposium, we recognize the achievements of our graduate students in research, publications, oral presentations at regional and national meetings,, and poster presentations at regional and national meetings. All students self nominate for these recognitions in the Spring when called to provide evidence of these activities for the abstract program book for the Symposium. The Graduate Programs Committee meets to discuss all entries holisitically.

Congratulations to our students for their outstanding published papers and presentations at conferences over the past year. See more...

university Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award

Award: The winners will receive $500 and an engraved plaque.

Fields of Competition (rotate annually):

  • Life Sciences in odd numbered Fall academic years (1 award) - Includes biological sciences, biochemistry, biostatistics, biomedical sciences, chemistry, health sciences, medical social work, (computational) neuroscience, nursing, physics-biophysics, psychobiology, sports science, and research in closely related fields
  • Social Sciences/Business/Educationin even numbers Fall academic years (1 award)  - Includes anthropology, accountancy, business, communications, criminal justice, demography, economics, education, finance, gender and sexual studies, geography, government, international relations, linguistics, management, marketing, political science, psychology, public administration, public policy studies, sociology, social work, urban studies, and research in closely related fields.

Instructions for Nominations: To be considered, applicants must have completed their master’s degree requirements and thesis during the period between Fall 2017 through Summer 2019, inclusive. The Graduate School will verify eligibility. Deadline – Monday, October 21st at 12:00pm  All nomination materials should be sent electronically to 

Criteria: The nominated thesis should represent original work making an unusually significant contribution to the discipline. Both methodological and substantive quality will be judged.


  • A synopsis of the thesis (500 word maximum) outlining its context within the broader field, as well as how the completed research contributes to the discipline; prepared by the nominee;
  • An abbreviated resume or CV (2 page maximum, prepared by the nominee);
  • A web link to the thesis or electronic PDF copy;
  • Letters of endorsement from student’s advisor or the Graduate Program Director focused on the criteria by which the committee will evaluate the submitted theses. These consist of: clarity of style and presentation, scholarship, research methodology, and contributions to the field or discipline.
  • Please Note: Materials must be compiled as a single PDF and named as follows:  ThesisAward_Category_LastName_FirstName_Institution.pdf