Researchers looking at zebrafish

Where Research Happens

UC Davis emphasizes interdisciplinary research, with the goal of discovery through collaboration.  

While a majority of biology-specific labs are housed within the College of Biological Sciences, there are also opportunities to get involved with the college’s affiliated centers and programs. These include the following, and many more:

Life sciences research opportunities for undergraduates can also be found in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Letters and Science as well as the School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine and many other centers and research programs.

Considering that the life sciences are extremely interdisciplinary, growing your knowledge in one area can impact your understanding in others.

Research settings

Undergraduate student researchers have opportunities to work in a variety of settings to use the scientific method to help perform tests, conduct experiments and collect data, typically under the guidance of a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher.

  • Wet labs: Laboratories where organisms, chemicals, drugs or other biological samples are tested. Wet labs make up the majority of on-campus labs in the College of Biological Sciences.
  • Dry labs: In a dry lab, researchers rely on computational or mathematical analysis, as well as sophisticated electronic testing equipment. These labs may also perform experiments on human subjects, evaluating brain, muscle or heartrate data.
  • Fieldwork: While the methods and approaches of fieldwork vary, the goal is the same: students observe, count and quantify the natural world.
  • Clinical research: For pre-med students, clinical research will allow you to study and evaluate preventative measures, diagnoses and treatments for patients.
  • Internships: Outside of academia, internships can help you get other kinds of professional experience, especially if you want to learn first-hand how a business or organization operates.