Integrating Research and Careers on the Phenotype

A National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT)



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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.

EXPAND seeks to address these 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.


Life Science Graduate Programs at UVA include:

Biology PhD

Environmental Sciences PhD

Psychology PhD

Biomedical Science PhD

Pillars to EXPAND...

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

Opportunities to Join EXPAND

2023-24 Fellowship Application

EXPAND 2023-24 Fellowship Applications Now Open!

EXPAND's 2023-24 Fellowship application period is officially open! Current 3rd year students within the life sciences are eligible to apply for our one-year, non-renewable fellowship that will cover their tuition and stipend. This fellowship is aimed to allow students to focus their fellowship year on their research and career exploration without teaching obligations. Fellows are expected to bring on a co-advisor in a different discipline for at least a portion of their dissertation research. Fellows will also be expected to complete a 4- to 6-week internship during their fellowship period; applicants do not need to have an established internship upon applying. Applications are due on Monday, March 20, 2023 to [email protected]

EXPAND will be holding an informational session on Wednesday, February 22, 2023 from 3:30 - 4:30 pm in PLSB 403 where we will discuss the fellowship, student eligibility, and application materials. We will also have past and current EXPAND fellows discuss their experiences in the program. If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

The application can be found here.

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).

More information can be found within the application form..


Page-Barbour Symposium Jan. 13, 2023

EXPAND is proud to present our Page-Barbour Symposium: Breakthroughs through Integration on Friday, January 13, 2023! One of the fundamental goals of our program is to advocate for integration across the life sciences. Whether it is through interdisciplinary research and co-mentoring or collaborating with other departments to understand new techniques, science thrives when we come together to better understand and solve problems. We have invited 4 renowned scientists - Dr. Kenneth Catania, Dr. Catherine Limperopoulos, Dr. Sheila Patek, and Dr. Peter Reich - within the fields of biology, neuroscience, and ecology to discuss the ways that have used integration in their own research. Please join us for a day of engaging talks and discussions about the benefits and challenges of employing integration within the life sciences. The symposium will be from 9:30 to 5 pm. Coffee, lunch, and light hors d'oeuvres will be served. Please register for this free event using the following link.

Students an the Lawn

EXPAND Courses, Spring 2023

Interested in developing your professional skills? Want to expand your quantitative expertise? Check out the EXPAND Program's curated Spring offerings listed below, and click here to learn more about each. 

Professional Skills Courses
Internship Bootcamp in Partnership with PhD Plus

Quantitative Courses
EVSC 5030: Applied Statistics for Environmental Scientists
PSYC 7720: Quantitative Methods II: Experimental Design
BIMS 8380: Basic Study Design and Practical Statistics
BIMS 8382: Introduction to Biomedical Data Science
GCOM 7240: Advanced Quantitative Analysis
PHS 7001: Introduction to Biostatistics II
PSYC 5323: RM: R in Psychology
PSYC 7760: Introduction to Applied Multivariate Methods
PSYC 5710: Machine Learning and Data Mining

Open House 2022

Open House - Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 3:30 - 5 pm in Gilmer 490

Interested in learning more about our program and course offerings? Then drop by our Open House on Tuesday, September 13th, from 3:30 - 5 pm in Gilmer 490! Our 2021-2022 fellows will present what they learned during their summer internships and will be available for a Q&A afterwards. We will also have poster presentations from laboratories conducting interdisciplinary research. We will be serving light refreshments and would love to answer any of your questions!

If you wish to present a poster highlighting your integrative research, please submit your abstract (250-word max) to [email protected] by 11:59 pm on September 1st. There will be a $250 prize for the best poster!


EXPAND is Recruiting at SACNAS and ABRCMS Conferences

The EXPAND Program will have recruiting tables at SACNAS and ABRCMS Conferences! SACNAS' National Diversity in STEM Conference (NDiSTEM) will take place October 27-29th, 2022 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ABRCMS Conference will take place November 9-12, 2022  in Anaheim, California. Please stop by to say hello!

Reintegrating the Phenotype

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.

More Information on Reintegrating the Phenotype IDF

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