Biology & Biotechnology Scholars Program

Now more than ever, it has become clear how much biology and biotechnology are at the core of our future. The people we see on the news everyday are trained scientists, talking about the global problems we face in medicine, agriculture and the environment and their solutions.  Whether it’s developing novel therapeutics & vaccines, using CRISPR to treat genetic diseases or metagenomics to monitor ecosystems these solutions are grounded in biological research.  Reflecting this, in Biology and Biotech our faculty believe strongly in involving undergraduates in fundamental and authentic research experiences and real-world applications. 

To help better prepare you to go out and make an impact through Biology on these global problems we have developed the Biology & Biotechnology Scholars Program (BBTSP).

Students selected for the BBTSP will receive:

  • Special academic advising.
  • Early research opportunities.
  • Opportunities to attend on-campus biology colloquia and special meetings with the guest lecturers.  
  • A BBTSP scholarship, which will vary in amounts, but typically ranges between $10,000 and $25,000, and are renewable for four years.

WPI's Biology & Biotechnology Department exposes all of its students to authentic research. Our course and project offerings help students become acquainted with cutting-edge techniques and sophisticated equipment. Students may begin working in faculty-directed research labs well before their senior year. You will be assisting researchers in addressing some very real problems facing our society, whether it’s understanding the molecular basis of cancer, novel treatments for infectious diseases, how neuronal circuitry controls behavior, studying conservation & migratory behavior, or other areas, there are many opportunities awaiting you.

Overcoming Bacterial Defense Mechanism

To treat many infectious diseases, including the global scourge of tuberculosis, doctors must do battle with a wily adversary, bacteria. Unfortunately for afflicted patients, bacteria have also acquired strategies for thwarting attacks from the immune system and the onslaught of antibiotic drugs. We need to know more about the strategies bacteria use to survive stresses. Biology and biotechnology professor, Scarlet Shell, is seeking to do just that by probing the molecular changes that underlie these mechanisms.


Applicants indicating Biology & Biotechnology as their intended area of study will automatically be considered for the program. Selection by the Scholarship Committee will be based upon the applicant's academic performance in high school, leadership, extracurricular involvement and community service. In addition to the Scholars program, each BBTSP Scholar receives an academic merit-based scholarship. Scholarship amounts will vary, but typically range between $10,000 and $25,000, and are renewable for four years.

Academic Scholarship

Regardless of financial circumstances, each BBTSP participant will be guaranteed a BBTSP scholarship, which will vary in amounts, but typically ranges between $10,000 and $25,000, and are renewable for four years. Families may be eligible for much more aid, based on financial need. To be considered for the scholarship, simply apply as a biology and biotechnology major. No special application is required. To apply for need-based aid, please file the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE. See your guidance counselor or check in with Financial Aid at WPI ( for details).

The Best Speakers

We think it's important for students to have exposure to leaders and current topics in the field. That's why the Biology & Biotechnology Department enhances its curriculum by sponsoring invited lectures on timely biology topics. Through the Tamara D. Lasberg and Lembit Laasberg Lectureship we will invite speakers of particular interest to Biology & Biotechnology Scholars. Scholars will have the opportunity to meet with these speakers to discuss current issues, research and careers in biology and biotechnology.

Here is just a small listing of recent colloquia held at WPI:

  • "Biological architecture: From protective biocrystals to 3D-printed biofilms" Dr. Anne S. Meyer, Department of Biology, University of Rochester
  • "Functional and Computational Approaches to Understanding Cancer Aneuploidy" Dr. Alison Taylor, Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University
  • "Adaptive mycobacterial translation and mistranslation” Dr. Babak Javid, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco
  • "The Intersection of Genetics, Epigenetics, and Environmental Factors in Neuronal Development” Dr. Jessica MacDonald, Department of Biology, Syracuse University

Outsmarting Cancer's Survival

Professor Amity Manning focuses research in her lab on defining the cellular mechanisms that maintain genome stability and understanding how these pathways are corrupted in cancer cells. Her work may lead to a better understanding of how tumors evolve and how some become resistant to treatment and pave the way for the development of novel anti-cancer medications.


All BBTSP research is conducted on campus where we provide our students with easy access to our laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment. As a Biology & Biotechnology Scholar, you may find yourself using live-cell imaging, confocal microscopy, quantitative PCR, CRISPR, or Synthetic Biology in your research in one of our many new or newly renovated laboratories in the Life Science and Bioengineering Center and our Project lab in Goddard Hall.  In our facilities, you will have access to a broad array of imaging, molecular, biochemical and cell biological equipment, including:

• Zeiss Imager.Z1 Fluorescence Microscope with Apotome Imaging

• Azure and Bio-Rad DNA/RNA/Protein Imaging stations

• Leica TCS SP5 Spectral Confocal Microscope

• DNA Thermocyclers for qPCR and PCR

• Zeiss Axioskop Laser Ablation and Microinjection Microscope stations

• VICTOR3 Multilabel Plate Reader

• Nikon and Zeiss Live-Cell Imaging Microscope Stations