Joining the Lab

If you are a Pomona College student and are interested in joining the Liu Lab, we would love to hear from you! Students may receive academic credit for research during the academic year and will be paid for summer research.

To inquire about the lab, you should complete the following two steps (in any order):

    • Please fill out this form to apply to the lab.
    • Email Prof. Liu to let her know you are interested. We can set up a time to meet and discuss current projects and opportunities to learn more about the lab.

Former Liu Lab students have joined the lab as early as their first year in college up through the summer before their senior year. The lab has hosted majors ranging from Chemistry and Molecular Biology to Art and Gender and Women’s Studies. There is no single formula that makes a great candidate for the lab!

We know the confidence gap and imposter syndrome can get in the way of meeting spectacular undergraduate researchers, so please don’t hesitate to apply — we’d love to hear from you. There might not be room immediately, but there could be room in the future!

Below are some questions that Prof. Liu is frequently asked:

Is the Liu Lab currently accepting new students?

Applications for Spring Semester 2024 and Summer 2024 are currently under review.

If you are interested in joining the lab for Spring or Summer 2024, please fill out the form linked above by December 15, 2023 (for full consideration for Spring 2024 or Summer 2024).  An additional review for Summer 2024 will take place with applications due March 15, 2024.

How can I learn more about the Liu Lab?

You can: 1) Watch this short video introduction to the Liu Lab; 2) click on “Research” in the menu above — or any of the subpages; 3) email Prof. Liu to set up a time for a chat; and 4) talk to current Liu Labbers!

What makes a great Liu Lab member?

Here are some attributes of a great lab member: willingness to learn and a willingness to fail; collaborative team player; great work ethic; organized, yet flexible; maintains a growth mindset; curious about science and about life in general! You may also want to check out the Liu Lab Values and Expectations page.

What does it mean to “do research”?

Doing research means asking a question, reading the literature to know what has been done before, designing experiments to address the question, analyzing data, and then repeating the entire process again and again. When you first join the lab, you will probably work on a question that was originally formulated by Prof. Liu or a former Liu Labber. But once you’ve gone through the research cycle a few times, you will be ready to ask your own questions!

Doing research has other benefits. For Prof. Liu, it is part of her professional identity. She presents the work to other scientists to share the knowledge that is being produced by the lab.  For research students, they are learning how to plan and execute on projects, manage their time, critically analyze data, etc. These skills can be highly translatable to all sorts of future endeavors – not just graduate school!

When in a student’s academic career is the best time to join the lab?

Some Liu Labbers joined the lab during their first year of college. Others joined at the start of their last year of college. There is no “ideal.” 3rd and 4th year students bring more classroom experience with them, but 1st and 2nd year students bring the potential of staying in the lab for multiple years. There are pros to both!

Are there any pre-requisites to working for working in the Liu Lab?

Prof. Liu does not require any pre-requisites to work in the lab. We do a lot of on-the-job learning, where  researchers are constantly learning from the literature, from Prof. Liu, and from each other.