The Genomics Scholars Program

Fall 2023

The Center for Vertebrate Genomics (CVG) is delighted to open the Fall 2023 competition for Genomics Scholar Awards.


The CVG offers two different award mechanisms to support trainees who are carrying out exciting genomics-based research at Cornell:

  1. CVG Scholar Award: 3-5 awards of $10,000-$15,000 each.
  2. Distinguished Scholar Award: 1-3 awards of $20,000-$30,000 each.

One is not considered superior to the other. Rather, they are intended to recognize trainees at different stages of their training and research. The CVG Scholar Award is intended to recognize the genomics promise and exciting research goals of early-stage trainees or trainees newer to genomics; that is, (a) grad students in their first couple years, (b) post-docs in their first couple years, or (c) grad students or post-docs at any stage but newly entering genomics. The Distinguished Scholar Award is intended to recognize the ongoing and demonstrated excellence and productivity in genomics of trainees in later stages of their current fellowships; that is, grad students or post-docs who have had time to build a track record of excellence in genomics as determined by the letter of their PI, publication record, and progress on their genomics-related project. In both cases, award funds can be applied to trainee stipend and/or research.

Applicants are requested to choose their application track, indicating this in the header of the application. If an applicant is not among the selected awardees for their chosen track and if the review committee feels strongly that they might be more competitive in the other track, the review committee may shift the application to the other track for consideration.

Scholar Program

All scholars are expected to participate in monthly CVG Scholar Lunch meetings. These scholar lunches provide a unique opportunity to present and discuss research within a smaller forum of peers and mentors.

All scholars are encouraged to attend the CVG monthly seminar series (VERGE) whenever possible, expected to attend two Zoom-with-an-Expert sessions, expected to participate actively and present once in the CVG trainee-led journal club, and required to present a poster at the biennial CVG summer symposium.

Distinguished Scholars will be invited to serve as a host & moderator for a distinguished researcher during one of the Zoom-With-An-Expert (ZWE) events. ZWE is a CVG program launched in 2021 that brings leading genomics experts from across the world to connect with CVG trainees in a virtual discussion.

Comments from Past Participants

"My year in the CVG scholars program was one of the most enriching experiences I have had in my academic career. Getting to discuss science with such a diverse cohort of highly motivated scholars gave me many new perspectives on genomics research and techniques, and has greatly influenced the way I think about and design my own research."
 - Blake Mitchell (Aydemir Lab, Nutritional Sciences), 2022 Scholar

"The CVG Scholars Program offered me an invaluable platform, enabling me not only to showcase my work to fellow colleagues at Cornell but also to learn about the wide-ranging applications of genomics in various fields. The program played a pivotal role in broadening my scientific horizons, allowing me to expand my knowledge and explore diverse areas of research."
 - Madhav Mantri (De Vlaminck Lab), 2022 Distinguished Scholar

"The CVG award was a great vote of confidence for Madhav, and allowed our lab to further strengthen our connections to the CVG community, leading to new collaborations."
 - Dr. Iwijn De Vlaminck, School of Biomedical Engineering

"I was able to experience almost all aspects of academia and deepen my enthusiasm for learning through the CVG Scholar Program. I learned about diverse research topics and career paths, discussed recent papers on a wide variety of topics, and presented my work to a larger group of researchers. Motivating questions from interdisciplinary researchers enabled me to truly enjoy not only my research but really all research."
 - Heesoo Jeong (Vacanti Lab), 2022 Scholar

"The depth of our conversations on the implications of her work and her insights into the direction of her project matured dramatically in the year my trainee participated in the CVG Scholars Program."
 - Dr. Nathaniel Vacanti, Div. of Nutritional Sciences

"The CVG program was a very enriching experience. The diverse perspectives helped me step back from my work and think about things through different lenses, and raised my level of critical thinking about my work. I would often leave CVG lunches with renewed energy for my work and I cannot speak highly enough about this aspect of the program."
 - Matthew Edwards (Koren Lab, Molecular Biology and Genetics), 2022 Distinguished Scholar

"The CVG Scholars Program gave me the opportunity to expand my research to a new area, and gain training in machine learning. The independence that came from having my own funding was a tremendous resource for my professional growth."
 - Dr. Elena Panizza (Cerione Lab), 2022 Distinguished Scholar

"The support provided by CVG enabled Elena to stretch the boundaries of her research efforts and to begin to develop, quite independently, sophisticated approaches in data analysis and AI that have propelled her onto some very interesting lines of investigation. This will benefit Elena greatly in her career goals."
 - Dr. Richard Cerione, Dept. of Molecular Medicine

"I gained a special community among the CVG scholars and this experience stands out among the most enriching throughout my graduate studies. My favorite part of the program was the lunches with my fellow trainees. Each forum was stimulating with unique perspectives followed by energizing questions from diversified fields, and these roundtables are genuinely distinct to the CVG. I have much to thank for my colleagues and the CVG program."
 -Rosanna Ma (Sethupathy Lab, Biomedical Sciences), 2022 Scholar

Application Procedure


  • Applicants must be from laboratories whose PIs are members of the CVG.
  • Graduate student applicants must have selected a permanent laboratory home before applying.
  • The applicants should expect to be at Cornell through December 2024.
  • There is a limit of one applicant per faculty CVG member lab.

Evaluation Criteria

The application should be written and prepared by the applicant. Part of the evaluation process includes an assessment of the applicant's ability to communicate scientific goals and ideas in a succinct fashion. Those applications that are written by the PI or are excised from grant applications submitted by the PI will not be considered.

Projects to be proposed should have a genome-scale component and also concern vertebrates. Such projects may include, but are not limited to, genetic screens, computational analyses of genomic data, gene expression studies, population/evolutionary genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, or functional studies of vertebrate genes in model systems. Applications with projects focused on invertebrates are eligible, especially if the link(s) to vertebrate biology is clearly articulated. Applications with the following features are strongly preferred:

  • The project is collaborative (between two or more labs) and/or multidisciplinary in a way that will enable new training for the applicant.
  • The applicant is training in a lab that has been actively engaged with the CVG.

Application Package

  • First Page or Application Header to include applicant name and netid, and to indicate CVG Scholar or Distinguished Scholar track.
  • The project title and description. This should be no more than 2 pages using 11 point font size and single spaced. Include a brief working title, an introduction and succinct description of the planned work, and address the project's relevance to vertebrate genomics.
  • A letter of support from the PI (may be submitted separately). For CVG Scholars, PI letter should address merit and financial need. For Distinguished Scholars financial need is not a criterion and PI letter should focus on merit with specific concrete examples demonstrating the creativity and productivity of the applicant.
  • A copy of the applicant's CV (please include cornell netid).
  • A copy of the PI's NIH biosketch.
  • 1 additional page may be included for supporting figures and tables.
  • 1 additional page may be included for references.

DEADLINE: October 2, 2023 5:00pm.

Please submit your application as a PDF file via email to Charlotte Williams at Please reduce the file size if it exceeds 10 MB. PI letter of support may be submitted separately.

Applicants will be notified in November of their award status.

Past Genomics Scholarship Recipients