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Vertically Integrated Projects


Experiential learning
that transcends
semesters and disciplines


Vertically Integrated Projects, or VIP, is a program at College of Innovation and Design that takes learning to a whole new level.  Students get real-world experience and earn credits over multiple semesters by working alongside faculty who are engaged in ambitious scholarship and creative activities. Teams are often interdisciplinary and all tackle real world challenges. Learn more here

Register for a Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) course to earn credit for working alongside faculty pursuing ambitious research projects! All majors are welcome, there are no prerequisites, and there are opportunities for sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students.  Participate for multiple semesters for maximum reward. VIP credits can count toward your upper division biology credit requirement!

Biology Department VIP Projects


The goal of this project is to understand how biological systems innovate through the evolutionary process to make novel structures and functions. This knowledge will be applied to create new biological innovations in the lab. Our current focus is at the molecular level and utilizes data intensive DNA sequencing.


Plasma is the fourth state of matter, an ionized gas containing ions, electrons, and neutral gas particles. New areas of research use plasma for bio-medical applications including wound healing, bacterial disinfection, and tissue engineering; for treatment of food and food processing equipment in food safety; and for plasma assisted printing for in-space manufacturing. Our multi-disciplinary teams will study the use of plasma for a range of these topics based on student interest. The research team will consist of a student group of engineers, biologists, and chemists to work on the multi-disciplinary aspects of such a treatment.   The team recently secured a grant from the USDA to Fund Research for Food Processing Industry.

Plant-Soil Interactions in a Changing Climate

This VIP will work to inform efforts to improve soil quality, the sustainability of crop production, ecosystem restoration, and climate models predicting future atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Environments are changing owing to changes in land-use, climate and loss of biodiversity. These changes impact the functioning of ecosystems in a way that alters the services they provide to us, including food production and climate regulation.

Raptor Conservation

The Global Raptor Impact Network (GRIN) is The Peregrine Fund’s comprehensive data collection, safe-guarding, and analysis enterprise. GRIN streamlines how raptor biologists around the world are collecting, sharing, and analyzing data. The GRIN mobile app collects and organizes virtually all types of monitoring data for every named raptor species on Earth into a single comprehensive database. Monitoring capacities are all-encompassing and include nest site monitoring data, mark-resight studies, mortality observations, and much more. This is revolutionizing the raptor community’s ability to understand ranges, population trends, and real-time threats to raptors at a global scale. GRIN is filling in critical knowledge gaps so that conservation policies and actions can be implemented at timescales meaningful for species’ continued survival.