Integrating Research and Careers on the Phenotype

A National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT)



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EXPAND seeks to address central challenges by recruiting, training, and mentoring a diverse community of life sciences students with a broad intellectual platform to break down historic disciplinary silos. Broad scientific training is complemented with stage-specific professional development and exposure to a wide range of non-academic career opportunities.

Predicting an organism’s phenotype remains one of the central challenges of modern life science. Understanding how different scales of biological organization from the genome to the environment determine phenotypes and their consequences is a critical step in solving societal problems of human health, food security, and response to global climate change. The next generation of scientists, whether they work in academic careers or other settings, must be able to integrate and communicate their research across these scales and bring modern computational and quantitative approaches to bear on big data.


This research cluster realigns doctoral training to respond to complex societal questions regarding the phenotype by bringing together faculty and students in cell and developmental biology, neuroscience, evolution, ecology, psychology and environmental sciences.  Participants will have the opportunity to explore a variety of topics, such as forecasting how changing environments will impact the biodiversity of phenotypes and species and understanding how the production and variation of disease and resistance phenotypes affect the development of effective management and treatment strategies.  Alongside their disciplinary focus, doctoral fellows will be mentored as creative thinkers and productive collaborators across lab groups.

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Life Science Graduate Programs at UVA include:

Biology PhD

Environmental Sciences PhD

Psychology PhD

Biomedical Science PhD

EXPAND for the student

The conceptual breadth of science
Career options for graduates
The diversity of scientists in the life sciences

EXPAND Fellowship

EXPAND Graduate Student Travel Awards

EXPAND Graduate Student Travel Awards

Are you planning on attending a conference to present your research or for professional development?

Have you received other travel awards that do not cover the full cost of attending?

EXPAND is pleased to announce that we will be offering travel awards on a rolling basis throughout the year to graduate students who have participated in EXPAND offerings and have interdisciplinary, life sciences research! There is no deadline to submit your application!

The application form will require an abstract of the student’s presentation (if presenting), an up-to-date CV, a short explanation of how their research is interdisciplinary in nature, and an itemized budget for the meeting. Award amounts will typically range from $500-$1,000 per student.

Awards will only be made to support future travel (not to reimburse past travel).


The application can be downloaded HERE