National Science Foundation/USGS Internship Opportunities

The evaluation of aerosol DNA/RNA extraction methods for aerobiology research projects

The project will address a need of the field of aerobiology as the optimal method for extracting DNA/RNA has yet to be identified. Membrane filtration has been successfully utilized in previous studies but negative aspects such as cell desiccation, low capture rates for viral sized particles and difficulties with purifying nucleic have been noted. This study will contrast the extraction of DNA/RNA from aerosols collected with electrostatic precipitation (a relatively new collection method) with a common membrane filtration protocol to identify the most appropriate method for future regional and global scale aerobiology research projects.


Link to PDF Version.

Project Hypothesis or Objectives:

Evaluate the extraction of DNA/RNA from membrane filters and electrostatic precipitator samples.

Duration: Up to 12 months

Internship Location: St. Petersburg, Florida 

Field(s) of Study: Biology, Ecology, Environmental Health

Applicable NSF Division: BIO (Environmental Biology, Molecular & Cellular Biosciences, Biological Infrastructure, Integrative Organismal Systems)

Intern Type Preference: Any Type of Intern 

Keywords: Biology/microbiology/biochemistry, Ecology/Ecosystems, Environmental Health

Expected Outcome:

The objective is to produce a peer reviewed journal article on the topic. 

Special skills/training Required:

Experience in working with pipettes, microcentrifuges and PCR. We will provide guidance on using this equipment.


Conducts extraction assays and quantifies extracts through the use of a fluorometer and or 16S quantitative PCR. 



Dale Griffin, Ph.D.

Environmental and Public Health Microbiologist
Environmental Health
Phone: 850-274-3566