Dalhousie Internships 2019

A unique opportunity for Grade 11/12 students to experience scientific research at a Dalhousie academic lab for five days over spring break. You will be mentored by a graduate student, who will help you learn and engage in cutting edge research through shadowing lab personnel, attending lab meetings and seminars. Participants will be introduced to lab techniques and state-of-the-art equipment specific to the project. This program allows you to explore careers in research, be immersed in the process of scientific inquiry, and ask lots of questions about their paths to this field and this research. 


Dr. Jan Rainey’s Lab

Spider silks are among the strongest and most energy-absorbant materials known. The exact reasons for this remain elusive, but the mechanical properties and potential for use in materials or biomedical applications make these protein-based materials highly sought after. Our research group uses bacteria to produce different types of spider silk through recombinant protein production. This means that we are not reliant on harvesting silks directly from spiders and very excitingly gives the ability to tailor the silks at the level of their individual amino acid constituents. In comparison to petrochemical-based polymeric materials, recombinantly produced silks not only have the potential to perform better but also are an inherently “green” material with respect to production and downstream biodegradability.

Interns in our lab will be working directly with graduate students to help in producing and testing purified recombinant spider silks. Exposure will be gained to microbiology and molecular biology techniques, protein isolation and purification, automated spinning of silk threads, and characterizing their mechanical behaviour and microscopic appearance. We also apply a wide variety of biophysical characterization tools allowing us to develop an atomic-level understanding of these amazing materials. Over the course of the internship, exposure to these techniques will also be an expectation.


Apply here. Applications are due Friday, Feb 8 at 11:59 pm AST.


In addition to the opportunity to conduct novel research through the internship program, we have started a new initiative to complement this research program that enables our interns to publish their own scientific manuscripts to the STEM Fellowship Journal (SFJ). The SFJ is an open access peer-reviewed journal supported by Canadian Science Publishing and the National Research Council. More specifically, our interns will be given the opportunity to write a literature review on the topic they researched on throughout the course of the program. Interns will be offered guidance throughout the whole process, both by the branch executives during the initial manuscript writing stage, and the SFJ editors upon submission of their literature reviews. All interested interns will have the opportunity to publish their work, the author of the top literature review among all internships programs in Canada will be awarded with a free publication (sponsored by the SFJ).


  • Must be enrolled in a Canadian high school in grade 11 or 12
  • Must demonstrate an interest in STEM research
  • Must complete application form and submit all required documentation prior to the deadline
  • Must be at least 15 years of age as of March 1st, 2019


Approximately 50% of available spots will be reserved for high school students that self-identify as coming from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.

Students from the following backgrounds qualify under the underrepresented student category:

  • Indigenous or of Indigenous ancestry
  • Socioeconomically disadvantaged
  • Rural students
  • New immigrants
  • Refugees


Contact Program Lead: meghan.martin@stemfellowship.org