Application deadline is March 1.

  • Eligibility: Participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and currently enrolled in a graduate degree program (full-time or part-time) leading to a master's or Ph.D. degree.
  • Participants receive a $10,000 stipend throughout the duration of the program.
  • Mote’s Research Experience for Graduate Students has funded two graduate research internship positions annually since 2019.  

Two positions are available for summer 2024 in the following research areas:

Ecotoxicology Program, Dr. Jennifer Toyoda

Red tide is a major toxic threat on Florida’s coastline. On a nearly annual basis, dense blooms of Karenia brevis impact coastal waters of southwest Florida and produce high concentrations of polyether neurotoxins, collectively referred to as brevetoxins. Brevetoxin exposure results in the strandings or deaths of hundreds of sea turtles and manatees each year. The impact on human health is also dramatic with up to $4 million in emergency room visits for red tide-related respiratory issues. However, red tides are not the only threat to Florida’s ecosystems. Near-shore environments are inundated with a mixture of chemical toxicants from industry and agriculture. In line with Mote’s mission to promote marine science and conservation in a changing world, this project aims to understand the cellular impacts of multiple toxic stressors, many of which are rarely studied in marine species. Recognizing that humans, wildlife, and marine ecosystems share the burden of environmental chemical exposures, we will employ a One Environmental Health approach to investigate how toxins affect us all. We will conduct lab-based toxicological exposures using cell cultures. Applicants should have proficiency in pipette skills, calculating stock dilutions, and lab safety. The chosen graduate student will gain experience in toxicological research including cell culturing and sterile technique, chemical dosing, chemical uptake analysis, RT-qPCR, ELISA, microscopy, and experimental design.


Molecular Microbiology, Dr. Kirstie Francis

Interactions between bacteria and algae within a harmful algal bloom (HAB) are now recognized to play an important role in bloom duration and toxicity. Data suggests that HABs can lead to significant shifts in the microbial community structure of an area, and inversely, microorganisms within a HAB can regulate the bloom through mutualistic, commensal, or antagonistic activities. Few studies on Karenia brevis blooms in the Florida Gulf region have highlighted the complex and dynamic relationship between bacteria and dinoflagellates within a bloom. This project aims to further investigate the relationships between K. brevis and its associated microorganisms in lab cultures to determine the role of these microorganisms in the growth of K. brevis.


Application Process

To apply, please visit and select the Research Experience for Graduate Students Program.

Applicants will receive notification by late March.


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