Undergraduate Research

Dr. O'Connell and Moremi at the lab bench

The Laboratory of Organismal Biology hosts undergraduate summer internships through the Department of Biology B-SURP program, the Bio-X interdisciplinary program, and the Wu Tsai NeURO fellowship program. These programs give Stanford undergraduates the opportunity to intern in the lab for 10 weeks working on an independent project along with multiple social and educational opportunities. Applications to this program are due in December (Bio-X), January (Biology), and February (NeURO).

Non-Stanford students from groups historically excluded from science that are interested in summer research can apply through the SSRP-AMGEN program.

Community college students: We want you! We currently have funds from the National Science Foundation to support two students from local community colleges each summer.

Stanford students interested in pursuing research projects throughout the academic year should contact Professor O'Connell. We do not offer unpaid internships as this promotes socioeconomic divides in science. Students are either paid for their work in the laboratory or receive class credit.

We are particularly interested in working with undergraduate students from groups historically excluded from STEM fields, first generation college students, and community college students.

Past Interns & Projects


Nicholas Panyanouvong (Stanford University) - Spatial cognition in cane toads

Moremi Mabogunje (FootHill College) - Visual perception of parents in tadpoles

Amaris Lewis (Stanford University) - Infanticide or care in poison frog parents

Mei-Lan Steimle (Stanford University) - Robotics and tadpole communication

Joseph Monarres (Stanford University) - Neural basis of maternal care in wolf spiders

Mary Martinez (Stanford University) - Toxicity and gene expression in two sympatric poison frogs

Jordan McKinney (Stanford University) - Neural basis of aggression in tadpoles


Marina Luccioni (Stanford University) - Chemical ecology of nightmare fish

Ela Diffenbaugh (Stanford University) - Epigenetic imprints of nicotine during development

Jordan McKinney (Stanford University) - Neural basis of aggression in tadpoles


Christopher Jackson (Stanford University) - Piloting open field tests  in poison frogs

Sarah Ludington (Stanford University) - Role of FOXP2 in tadpole communication

Jordan McKinney (Stanford University) - Nonapeptide regulation of tadpole behavior

Jules Wyman (Stanford University) - Optimization of fecal sample barcoding to assess diet in poison frogs


Aditya Iyer (Indian Institute of Science, Khorana Scholarship) - Tadpole diet and toxicity

Harmony Alvarez (Stanford University) - Dopamine and tadpole aggression

Travis Ramirez (Stanford University) - Spatial memory in Dendrobates tinctorius


Siyuan (Lily) Cheng (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) - Plasticity in poison frog paternal care

Javon Mullings (Wheaton College) - Sex determination in poison frogs


Stephanie Caty (Harvard University) - Toxicity in Oophaga sylvatica

Jason Millington (University of Nottingham) - Role of neuropeptides in poison frog paternal care


Mia Bertalan (Harvard University) - Characterization of the skin microbiome on Oophaga sylvatica

Sitara Chapman (Wellesley College) - Divergence of early cell division programs in poison frog embryos