Brandon Pierce

Opportunity Description:

The student would assist in establishing primary prostate cell cultures using cells obtained from patients who have had their prostates removed at the University of Chicago. These cell cultures will be used to study the impact of inherited genetic variation on cellular phenotypes (such as gene expression and epigenetic features) and how these effects vary by ancestry. In addition to this wet-lab work, the student would help with the analysis of genomics data obtained from the processed prostate tissue.

Primary Responsibilities: 

The student would serve as a point of contact for the tissue collection. Thus they would assist with all steps in the processing of the collected tissue from the initial tissue breakdown through the establishment of the cell cultures. The student would gain training in all these procedures and ultimately gain the opportunity to perform these procedures independently. Additionally, the student would gain experience with genomic data analysis, helping to process the data obtained from the cell cultures they establish.

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: 

The student should be a Freshman, Sophomore, or Junior at the University of Chicago. After training, they will be responsible for the collection, preparation, and preservation of primary cell cultures from prostate tissue of patients at the University of Chicago. The student would also have the opportunity to help in the analysis of the genomics data obtained from these cell cultures. To this end, the student should have some familiarity and comfort with a wet-lab environment and with the use and preparation of reagents. Previous direct experience with cell culture will be useful but is not required for participation in this research experience. Ideally, the student would have previous experience with the use of coding software for statistical analysis, experience with R will be particularly useful (but not essential).

Preferred Skills: 

The student cannot be a graduating senior as this would not allow sufficient time for both training and independent work. Previous experience in a wet lab, particularly in terms of lab safety, reagent preparation, and pipeting is preferred. Previous experience working in cell culture will be useful, but is not required for this experience. Furthermore, student should have some basic familiarity with coding software in order to participate in the data analysis portion of this experience. Previous experience with R and the unix platform is preferred.

Knowledge or skills gained from the experience: 

Student will gain experience with cell culture preparation and with methods of genomic data analysis. Additionally, through participation in lab meetings, the student will gain experience with general principles of the design and execution of genomics and epidemiological research.

Application Process: 

Please submit a CV, unofficial transcript, and a brief statement of motivation/interest. Can submit by email if needed (

Application Deadline: 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Application Requirements: 

  • Submit CV
  • 350 Word Statement of Interest
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • For more information on this opportunity, please contact:

    Brandon Pierce
    Faculty Title: 
    Associate Professor
    Public Health Sciences
    Pierce Lab