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Pace University Federal Work-Study Undergraduate Research Assistantship— “Tetrastigma” Biology in New York, New York

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Posting Details

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Posting Summary

Position Title Federal Work-Study Undergraduate Research Assistantship— “Tetrastigma” Biology

Position Number 1P4035

Status Part Time

Executive Provost/EVP Academic Affairs

Division AP - Sponsored Research Eco Develop

Department Undergraduate Research Initiative P4035

Primary Campus/Site NY - New York City Downtown Campus

Work Mode Hybrid

Grant Funded? No

Position Summary

Serve as an undergraduate research assistant on the project: Identifying Tetrastigma—sole host to the world’s largest flowering parasite, Rafflesia.

Tetrastigma is a genus of tropical vines related to grapes (Vitaceae). It is the sole host plant to the endangered parasitic plant, Rafflesia (Rafflesiaceae), which produces the largest flowers in the world and are a charismatic icon of plant conservation. Principal investigator Jean Molina has been working on understanding the symbiotic biology between Rafflesia and its host species to learn how to cultivate and propagate Rafflesia in botanic gardens to facilitate ex situ conservation and foster awareness and education of these rare plants. It is unknown how Rafflesia “selects” its host species. Of the 95 Tetrastigma species, only a few Tetrastigma species serve as hosts. Tetrastigma species are also difficult to taxonomically identify in the field, as well as determine if they are actually infected with Rafflesia, since there can be no obvious signs of Rafflesia infection initially, as the parasite can remain dormant in the host for a long time before flowering. Molina has collected various Tetrastigma species from Southeast Asia this summer and needs help in identifying these species using DNA barcoding, which uses DNA sequences/genes to identify the species. Molina also hopes to develop a barcoding method to determine if a Tetrastigma sample is Rafflesia-infected. Identification of the host species, as well as determination of infection, is important in subsequent experiments such as metabolite profiling and characterization of bacterial endophytes from the host, as these metabolites and microbes specific to a certain Tetrastigma species may be important in understanding host species choice in Rafflesia.

Position Duties

The undergraduate research assistant will be trained to extract DNA from the samples and isolate and amplify genes of interest (= DNA barcodes) using polymerase chain reaction ( PCR ). The products will then be purified and submitted/outsourced for DNA sequencing. Research Assistant will then compare the resulting DNA barcodes to sequences from a reference DNA database to identify the host species. Research Assistant will also learn how to analyze his/her data and write scientifically.

*All position duties must be conducted in full compliance with University COVID -19 requirements for safety.

Position Qualifications

Only undergraduate students who have federal work-study ( FWS ) awards as part of their financial aid package are eligible.

The student does not need to have laboratory experience, though that is ideal. The student should be highly motivated, detail-oriented, possess superb work ethic, and has some basic biology background (has taken Bio 101 and/or 102 and excelled in these courses, i.e. A- or A).

Work Hours

Exact schedule to be determined with the faculty supervisor. The position is approved for 166 hours or $2,500 in work-study funds for the academic year. Once a student’s $2,500 in work-study funds are exhausted the position must end; there are no additional funds to supplement work-study funds and federal law prohibits the students from volunteering for the same work they were previously paid for. For this reason, the faculty supervisor must work with the student to ensure a distribution of hours that will enable the student to work on the project throughout the academic year and not spend beyond the student’s work-study award.

Minimum Hourly Wage


Maximum Hourly Wage


Posting Detail Information

Posting Number Stu01598P

Job Open Date 09/20/2022

Job Close Date

Open Until Filled Yes

Special Instructions to Applicant

About the Institution

Ranked in the top 9% of private US colleges that provide the best return on tuition investment, Pace University transforms the lives of its diverse students—academically, professionally, and socioeconomically. Currently, the University enrolls more than 13,000 students in more than 150 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. Pace University is at the forefront of creating opportunity. Through the convergence of strong academics, experiential learning, and dedicated advising, Pace University empowers its students and positively impacts its communities.

AA/EEO Statement

Pace University is committed to achieving full equal opportunity in all aspects of University life. Pursuant to this commitment, the University does not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived sex, gender or gender identity; race; color; national origin; religion; creed; age; disability; citizenship; marital or domestic partnership status; sexual orientation or affectional status; genetic predisposition or carrier status; military or veteran status; status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking; or any other characteristic protected by law federal, state or local law, rule or regulation.

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Quicklink for Posting

Supplemental Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

    • Are you an active Pace University Student?
  • Yes

  • No

    • What is your UID number (University Identification Number)?

(Open Ended Question)

    • “Were you awarded and did you accept federal work study dollars towards your education here at Pace? If so, you will be expected to bring your Federal Work Study letter with you if contacted for an interview”
  • Yes

  • No

    Applicant Documents

    Required Documents

  • Resume

  • Cover Letter

  • Work-Study Award Letter

    Optional Documents