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Join the Frantz Lab!

Current research students: access the Lab Research Page here (requires password).

Interested in undergraduate research? Check out the project opportunities listed below! If you see something that fits your interests, skills, and time availability, contact Dr. Frantz at or visit her during her office hours. Note that the fields listed do not need to be your major as long as you have the required skills.

To apply to do research in the Frantz Lab, fill out the application google form and upload your resume (optional) and current transcript (required). Applications are held in confidence. Students accepting unpaid positions should enroll in GEO 4800 with Dr. Frantz for the appropriate number of credit hours. Microbiology research with Dr. Frantz can count as upper-division credit / microbiology research for MICR majors.

Check out the Office of Undergraduate Research for opportunities for project funding, conferences, and general info about undergraduate research at Weber State University.

Current Undergraduate Research Opportunities


Great Salt Lake Microbialite Observatory live data website development

Paid (up to 50 hrs)

Discipline: Computer Science

Task: Build a public-facing website to host and display live aquarium and Great Salt Lake data.

Skills: Must have prior experience with web design and programming, including web scraping, API-interfacing, and data visualization.


"Living Rock" microbialite aquarium chemical and biological monitoring

For credit (1 cr)

Discipline: Environmental Science

Task: Monitor the "living rocks" and contribute to our understanding of how they form.

Skills: No experience needed--this is a great introduction to research


Calcium carbonate precipitation experiments: growing rocks in the lab

For credit (1-2 cr), Paid after 1st semester

Discipline: Chemistry / Geoscience

Task: Laboratory experiments to understand the conditions under which carbonate could precipitate in Great Salt Lake, and the chemistry it records.

Skills: CHEM 1210, CHEM 1220 (can be taken concurrently), CHEM 3000 (preferred)


Great Salt Lake geochemical modeling for understanding mineral precipitation

Paid (10 hrs/week)

Discipline: Chemistry / Paid (10 hrs/week)

Using principles of chemical reactivity and thermodynamics, we will model mineral precipitation in Great Salt Lake.

Skills: CHEM 1220; CHEM 3410, GEO/CHEM 4550, or GEO 4555. Strong background in thermodynamics. Some programming experience preferred.


Great Salt Lake microbialite mapping

For credit (2 credits), potential to become a larger project

Dicipline: Geography /GIS

Task: Map the visible locations of microbialite reefs in GSL using satellite imagery and compare with wind direction data.

Skills: No experience needed--this is a great introduction to research. GIS experience helpful but not required.


Antelope Island environmental chemistry monitoring

For credit (1 cr), Paid after 1st semester

Discipline: Environmental Science

Monthly sampling trips to instrument sites off the shore of Antelope Island to download data and take field measurements and samples.

Skills: No experience needed--this is a great introduction to field-based research.


Cultivating microbialite microorganisms

For credit (1 cr), Paid after 1st semester

Discipline: Microbiology

Task: Great Salt Lake microbialites are host to a diverse community of microbes, some of which are thought to be responsible for building them. You will develop and prepare enrichment media to isolate and characterize microbialite microbes.

Skills: CHEM 1210; MICR 2054; MICR 3053 preferred; MICR 3753, 3484, and 4054 are all applicable.


Who's there? DNA surveys of Great Salt Lake microbial communities

For credit (1 cr) Paid after 1st semester

Discipline: Microbiology

Task: You will help extract DNA from GSL microbial samples and learn how to use bioinformatics pipelines to figure out which organisms are present and their relationships to environmental parameters.

Skills: MICR 2054 or another introductory biology course where principles of genetics were introduced; MICR 4154, ZOOL 3300, or BTNY 3303 preferred; pipetting accuracy, aseptic technique, and attention to detail is critical; you should be comfortable learning command-line computing and have strong analytical skills.


Great Salt Lake interactive chemistry map

For credit (2-3 credits), potential to become a longer project

Discipline: Geography /GIS / Computer Science

Task: Develop an interactive map showing how Great Salt Lake chemistry has changed over the last several decades.

Skills: GIS and/or Python programming