COBE undergraduate research camp (August 15-19)

This summer, COBE will be launching its first undergraduate research bootcamp in partnership with PENdulum Global at VCU. Participants will learn about SPSS (the user interface as well as syntax) and leave with detailed knowledge of the Spit for Science (S4S) dataset and codebook. Activities include didactic instruction, hands-on learning and group research projects. Participants will be required to attend sessions each day (August 15-19) from 9:30-4:30 with a break for lunch. Individuals interested in participating should contact Dr. Adkins ( for an application. Priority will be given to students with no prior research experience and to those applications received by April 29 at 5pm. 

Join the research team:

We have a team of undergraduates who help with running the project. This includes handing out brochures about the project, talking to students and various organizations about the study, hanging flyers and banners, directing students to the payment collection area, following-up on participation rates, etc. In addition, students are involved in helping create newsletters with results and running basic analyses of the data. This is a great opportunity for students who want to go on to graduate or medical school and want research experience.

Attend a Forum:

COBE periodically holds educational forums that feature collaborators who work with the Spit for Science data. The topic of these forums varies. Some will present findings from the Spit for Science study. Some will focus on research topics related to substance use, emotional health, and related behaviors. Others focus more directly on the study of genetic and environmental influences on behavior. The exact dates/times/locations of these forums will be announced in the VCU TelegRam and on COBE social media platforms. You can also e-mail to request that information about educational forums be e-mailed to you when it comes available.

Integrate S4S into your other courses:

This could involve writing a paper or doing a class project on any of the following topics:

  • How genetic and environmental influences impact a particular outcome of interest to you.
  • How do you think genetics will change the practice of medicine (or will it)?
  • Ethical issues surrounding genetic research.
    • This may include potential for discrimination in the work place, by health insurance companies, designer babies, genetic testing and discrimination (in the work place, by health insurance companies, etc.), gene therapy and gene enhancement. (Is it OK for parents to select babies with blue eyes or brown eyes? What about certain personality traits?)
  • Write a paper on the legal implications of genetic research; should genetic information be used in reducing culpability? Should it be used in sentencing? If so, how? Should sentences be longer or shorter for those convicted individuals who had a genetic predisposition?
  • How does our rapidly increasing knowledge of genetics shape the way that we view free will and ourselves?

Discuss the results from the study:

Talk with your friends, in your organizations, and/or in your classes. Are there findings that surprise you? Are there things you find particularly interesting? Arrange for a member of the Spit for Science research team to come talk to your organization or group about any topic relevant to the study by e-mailing

Ask your professor to have a member of the Spit for Science research team come talk in your class. Also, if there are other ways that you want to be involved in the Spit for Science project or you have ideas for us to list here, e-mail us at!