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Reproductive Biology Research Internship

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has an available internship supporting the Center for Species Survival in 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 produced by studying molecular factors important for oocyte development. The intern may also assist staff in the development of a novel technique for genome preservation. This research will be carried out using the domestic cat model and 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 biological techniques, such as immunostaining and western blotting.

Note: This internship does not involve contact with animals, and interns will primarily work with staff.

Learning Objectives: 

This is an unpaid internship opportunity wherein the intern will support the Center for Species Survival. Through this internship, interns will:

  • Help collect and process biological samples, such as ovarian tissues
  • Learn to operate lab equipment, such as microtome and fluorescent microscope
  • Learn to conduct experiments to evaluate the outcome of different preservation conditions
  • Analyze data collected from experiments
  • Troubleshoot, in conjunction with supervisor, to solve experimental problems
  • Understand the basic maintenance of a biology laboratory

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.

Completion of at least two years of undergraduate coursework in a related field of study is required. Intern should be motivated, efficient, organized, responsible and have the ability to work independently. 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.
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 devote at least 20 hours per week. Further discussion about schedules, including days and hours, will take place during the interview process.

Note: The application period will remain open until the position is 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.