College of the Atlantic

College of the AtlanticCollege of the Atlantic (COA) is located four miles from the MDI Biological Laboratory and two miles from The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. A four-year liberal arts college called “the graduate school for undergraduates,” COA has a non-departmental 30-member faculty, an experiential approach to education and a curriculum focused on human ecology, the investigation and study of the interrelationships among humans and their social, natural, and constructed environments.

Students are given extraordinary access to faculty and staff and assume responsibility for designing their own course of study, including courses, tutorials, independent study, research, internships, and a capstone independent senior project. COA’s mission is education for environmental and social responsibility, and its interdisciplinary focus on human ecology centers on the study of complex systems. This focus has put it on the cutting edge of non-traditional liberal arts education and environmental studies. Half of all alumni pursue careers in education, medical and health services, and the natural sciences. One-third of those pursuing graduate study do so in science and health-related fields.

Through the INBRE grant, COA has increased the interaction of undergraduate students with scientists at both The Jackson Laboratory and the MDI Biological Laboratory. Guest faculty members from these laboratories enrich many courses by leading hands-on elements, including techniques in molecular and developmental biology, and imaging.

With equipment funded through INBRE, COA added on-campus modern genetic laboratory components, including basic gel electrophoresis and PCR, to introductory courses in cellular and molecular biology, genetics, and biochemistry. COA also has upgraded computer laboratory facilities with a portable computer lab, which is used in a variety of classes including introductory cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, statistics, calculus, and programming.

Academic Year Fellowships

Academic Year Fellowships are available to COA students who want experience working in biomedical research in comparative functional genomics with research scientists at COA, The Jackson Laboratory, or the MDI Biological Laboratory. Fellowships may be in the form of an internship, residency, independent study, or senior project. Small awards are also provided to faculty mentors to cover research supplies.

Summer Research Fellowships

The INBRE Summer Research Fellowships Program pairs individual students with a federally-funded biomedical researcher of the student’s choice for a 10-week hands-on summer research experience. Funding is provided for lodging, food, and supplies.

Two Summer Research Fellowships are available annually to COA students. Applications are due in January for the following summer, and must be accompanied by a transcript and two letters of recommendation from faculty members.

Laboratory Training Course at the MDI Biological Laboratory

Each year, COA students have the opportunity to participate in a two-week laboratory course at the MDI Biological Laboratory during spring break. The course focuses on using molecular biology techniques for genetic research. Past courses have included topics such as Molecular Evolutionary Genetics and Integrative Environmental Toxicogenomics.