Gene Team

Gene Team Summer Program:

Are you interested in studying biology in college?

If so, the high school to college (H2C) program at Pitt would love to hear from you!  We are looking for a group of scientific-minded high school students who want to learn more about Biology while developing laboratory skills. 

You will be immersed in a current research project from a lab here at Pitt over the course of the 4-week program. Additionally, we will take time to focus on strategies and skills that will be invaluable for applying to and succeeding in college!

No prior lab experience is necessary.  Pitt’s Biology Outreach team will provide you with all necessary safety training, scientific background, and laboratory instruction and you will work in a group environment with fellow high school students. 

Program details:

Location:       Langley Hall, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

Dates:           June 22nd-July 17th, 2020

                       9am-3pm each weekday

Contact:      Dr. Becky Gonda

                      Office phone: 412-383-5739

Apply Here

Applications Due: March 20th, 2020; applications will not be accepted after this date!

Applicants must be current 9th-11th grade students at Pittsburgh Public Schools (or a local urban school).

For more information, contact Dr. Becky Gonda at 412-383-5739 or

Gene Team FAQs

What will I be doing in the program? You will carry out state-of-the-art biomedical research projects, teamed with other high-school students. You will also attend weekly sessions that provide strategies and skills for applying for college.

What are the educational qualifications? You must have completed one year of high school Biology in PPS (or other local urban school).

Do I need to have had previous research experience? No, we will learn together and teach you everything that you will need to know.  Pitt faculty will be in lab each day for additional support and assistance.

What are the working hours for the program? You will be in the lab on the Pitt campus Monday through Friday, 9 AM to (approximately) 3 PM.

I have a family vacation planned.  Will I have to miss it? Probably. Because of the team structure, it is permissible for each participant to miss no more than 2 days of the summer session. You are not permitted to miss the first day or the last day of the program.

Do I get paid? Yes. Students receive a stipend of $500, paid at the end of the program.

How about transportation to campus? Free Port Authority bus passes are available.

How do I apply for this program? Complete the online application form no later than March 20th, 2020.         

When will I find out if I'm accepted to the program? Applicants will be notified by April 17th, 2020.

How do I get more information or answers to other questions? Contact Dr. Becky Gonda at   We welcome all questions and would love to speak with you about the program.

Gene Team Science Corps

The Gene Team Science Corps provides an opportunity for high school students who participated in the Gene Team summer research program to share their love of science with younger students in their home school districts.


Aliya's alleles

Students explore the relationship between dominant and recessive alleles in a fun and exciting way!  Pairs of students each receive a deck of cards that represent different versions of alleles for hair color, eye color, the presence of absence of dimples, and other inherited traits.  They must determine which of the alleles is dominant and then draw a final representation of their "offspring".

Giraffe necks and natural selection: the long and short of it

Participants temporarily become giraffes to demonstrate how traits are passed down through generations and can become more abundant if they are beneficial to an organisms survival.  An equal number of students act as giraffes with short necks or long necks and gather food from "trees" that are set up in the classroom.  Giraffes that are able to gather sufficient food to survive are able to recruit more friends to their team.  Long neck giraffes are more effective at accumulating their favorite foods from high atop the trees and demonstrate that, over multiple generations, a beneficial trait becomes more prevalent in the population.

It's not magic, It's Science!

Students learn the science behind magical-looking phenomena like dry ice, layering densities, and what makes water a very special molecule.  They get up close and personal with these hands-on activites and delve into the science to learn more about the world around them!