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Reproductive Biology Research Internship

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has an available internship supporting the Reproductive Sciences Laboratory. In the reproduction lab, scientists conduct research to understand the biology of reproduction and perform cryobanking to ensure species survival and genetic diversity.

The intern will assist with a project in which the goal is to understand how a healthy oocyte is made by studying molecular factors important for oocyte development. Secondly, the intern may assist in the development of a novel technique for genome preservation. This research will be carried out using the domestic cat model with tissues collected from veterinary clinics. This experience provides a valuable opportunity to learn and carry out scientific research from tissue sample processing, optimization, data collection and data analysis.

Interns will learn and perform molecular biology techniques, such as immunostaining and western blotting.

Note: This internship does not involve contact with animals.

Learning Objectives: 

This is an unpaid internship wherein the intern will support the Center for Species Survival. This research opportunity is best suited for those interested in pursuing a career in molecular/cellular biological research or reproductive biology, and who are also interested in learning about conservation biology and species protection.

Through this internship, interns will:

  • Learn to collect and process biological samples, such as ovarian tissues
  • Learn to operate lab equipment, such as a fluorescent microscope
  • Learn to conduct experiments to evaluate the outcome of different preservation conditions
  • Learn to analyze data collected from experiments
  • Learn to troubleshoot, in conjunction with a supervisor, to solve experimental problems
  • Understand the basic maintenance of a biology laboratory
  • Completion of at least two years of undergraduate coursework in a related field of study
  • Motivated, efficient, organized and responsible with the ability to work independently
  • Strong interest in research, especially reproductive and molecular/cellular biology
  • Previous laboratory/research experience is a plus

Intern must have a valid driver’s license and be able to travel to Front Royal, Virginia, on occasion. A current negative TB test is required. 

This is an unpaid internship. College credit is offered if desired; intern is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university. Intern will be responsible for all transportation costs and personal health insurance. Adviser can assist with seeking external funding support if required.
The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution do not provide free parking to interns.
Term of appointment: 

This is a six month internship with the possibility of an extension. Full-time internship is preferred. Part-time intern must be able to commit to 20 hours per week distributed over two to three weekdays. Further discussion about days and hours will take place during the interview. Vacation days will not exceed seven business days during the six-month internship period.

Application Deadline

Open until filled.

Washington DC
Internship Category: 
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to: https://solaa.si.edu. Select "Don't have an Account? Create An Account." Complete the information to create an account.

Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Professional resume or CV
  • A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations
  • Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  • Two letters of reference (one must be from a current or a former supervisor)
  • Schedule of availability.

Once you create your account and provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select:

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  • Project: Rock Creek - Reproduction Biology Research

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.” Your SOLAA-submitted application with references must be received by the deadlines as noted above.