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Bad at math? Scared of science?
We have a program for you.

Play with dirt. Learn how to do serious research — no matter what your major — from the start of your freshman year. Earn college credit. Acquire crazy skills that will help you for the rest of your life.

Welcome to our viral discovery course, a two-semester lab course that's open to any JMU freshman who is interested in learning about the natural world. It's just as great for future teachers and as it is for science majors.

Here's what we do together

  • Isolate the genomic DNA from viruses found in your dirt and get the DNA sequence

  • Using bioinformatics, figure out where all the genes are and study what the functions of those genes may be

  • Compare what we learn with info from students in the network of schools taking part in the nationwide project

In the first semester, you get to discover a virus. In the next semester, you sequence its genome. How cool is that?

Sounds pretty hard?

Relax. We assume that the subject matter is new to you, and we teach you everything that you need to know. Learn more here.