Research Opportunity


Positions available for Research Interns:

Researchers pursuing or having recently completed Masters' degrees in the History and Philosophy of Science are encouraged to contact the Center for Humanities Studies to learn about exciting research internship opportunities in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives.

As an Archives Research Intern, you can pursue any project that matches your interest in our vast collection of original materials covering the development of modern biology. From the documents of the misguided Eugenics Record Office to the enlightened birth of molecular biology, and from the earliest efforts to understand cellular processes by the RNA Tie club to the advent of DNA Sequencing, the lab notebooks, correspondence, photographs, reprints, administrative documentation, financial records, and so much more are waiting to tell their stories and share their history. Contact the Center today to apply for an Internship at the world renown Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

For a more complete description of our Archives collections, please visit the Archives website.

A testimonial from a previous Research Intern:

Siddharth SatishchandranThe research I have conducted for the archives has been a wonderful experience. As someone with a background in History of Science, I have been able to research topics as varied as molecular biology and model organism studies, which I plan to formulate into PhD dissertation topics as I pursue my career to become a Historian of Modern Biology. Working at the archives of a scientific institute of such renown as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has allowed me not only to research topics of interest but also to learn the intricacies of archival work and contribute to the archives goals of research and preservation.

- Siddharth Satishchandran





FELLOWS From the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine


Current Fellows 2018 - 2019 :

Neeraja Sankaran

History of Tumor Virus Research

Ayah B. Nuriddin

Johns Hopkins University

Liberation Eugenics: African Americans and the Science of Black Freedom 

Struggles, 1890-1970

Ana Carolina Vimieiro Gomes

Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

The genetic of Brazilian northeastern population, 1950-1980: heredity, race and culture


Future Fellows: 2019-2020

Charles A. Kollmer

Princeton University

From Elephant to Bacterium: Microbes, Microbiologists, and the Chemical Order of Nature

Beans Velocci

Yale University

Apparent Exceptions Occur’: Race, Expertise, and the Persistence of Uncertainty in American Sex Research

Nuala F. Caomhanach

New York University/American Museum of Natural History

The Unfinished Synthesis: The Rise of Phylogenetics in an Age of Climate Change, 1880-1990

Paloma Rodrigo Gonzales

The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY)

Elusive Evidence, Enduring Fluidity: Historical Trajectories of the 

“Mongolian Spot”as a Marker of Race

Christa L. Kuljian

Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) at Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa

A History of Sexism in Science at Harvard and Beyond: Through the Eyes of Ruth Hubbard

Chelsea Chamberlain

University of Pennsylvania

The ways families identified, defined, and sought out treatment for their children's mental and moral impairments in the early twentieth century


The late Ellen Brenner

The Ellen Brenner Memorial Internship is one of the three types of awards offered by the CSHL Center for Humanities & History of Modern Biology. It was established in 2010 in memory of Ellen Brenner, who was a CSHL librarian and integral member of the lab community for nearly a decade.

Made possible by the generosity of Ellen's husband, Dr. Steven Brenner, and other donors, the Ellen Brenner Memorial Fellowship offers a stipend to work on a mentored project at CSHL. Experienced librarians and archivists at CSHL will serve as mentors to the Brenner interns.

Two internships with stipends of up to $2000 will be awarded each year. We invite applications from scientists, medical professionals, library-science students and graduates, and others--anyone who is exploring a career path that might encompass work as research librarians, science informationists, and/or archivists. 

Donors: To support this fellowship, click on Donate Now and specify the Ellen Brenner Memorial Fellowship in the comment area.

About Ellen Brenner

Ellen Brenner was a reference librarian at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library and Archives. She upheld the highest standards of excellence in her work, while bringing warmth and sincerity to everyone with whom she worked. She had extensive knowledge of medical and science literature, having worked as a reference librarian at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Health Sciences Library, the Milton Helpern Library of Legal Medicine, and at the Cornell University Medical College Library. Her professional contributions led to significant growth of the CSHL Library's programs and services. This memorial is a testament to Ellen's understanding of the important interactions between libraries and scientists in the advancement of knowledge.

About the Award


The internship is open to library professionals at any career stage, library science graduate students, and anyone with a career in science or medicine who is eager to transition toward work as a science librarian, archivist, or informationist.

Award terms

Ellen Brenner Memorial internships involve working part-time for 12 weeks or full-time for 6 weeks. Recipients will receive a $2000 stipend. Interns will be supervised in projects that generally fall into one of two broad categories.

Ellen Brenner Library Interns will gain experience working in a science library with scientific resources, as well as become involved with various projects at the CSHL Library. They will work at CSHL on projects that expand the Library's reference services and strengthen its bond with the CSHL scientific community. They may also work on special projects relating to the development of science libraries in the 21st century. To learn more about the Library collections and holdings, please visit our Library Resources information page.

Ellen Brenner Archives Interns will gain experience working with collections related to the history of CSHL and the history of molecular biology and biotechnology, including both institutional records and manuscripts of prominent scientists in these fields. Interns will work on projects that are currently underway in the CSHL Archives and the Genentech Center for the History of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. Topic areas include digitization, oral history, archives processing, and cataloging/creating metadata. To learn more about the Archives collections and holdings and The Genentech Center for the History of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, please visit our Archives information page.

Ellen Brenner interns are expected to submit a brief written report on their work at the conclusion of their internship.

The stipend may be used for any purpose, including local travel and living expenses while in residence or working at CSHL.

Past Recipents

Year Recipent Affilation
2020 William Clyde Long Island University, BFA Photography, May 2012; Masters of Library and Information Science, Jan 2019-current
2019 Mirielle Lopez-Guzman University of North Carolina, Marine Biology, May 2016; University of California, Molecular and Cell Biology, May 2010
2019 Siddharth Satishchandran Oregon State University, MA History of Science, June 2018; Florida Atlantic University, BA Liberal Arts, May 2016
2019 Alec Israeli Princeton University, AB in History, expected June 2021

Application Instructions

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Applications should be submitted electronically via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please attach all documents in .pdf, .doc, or .docx formats, with a very brief cover letter in the body of the email. Please format the subject line of your application email as "Ellen Brenner Memorial Fellowship Application, [Year], [Your Name]"

A complete application package must include the following:

  1. The application form, available at the bottom of this page.
  2. A statement of purpose
  3. A curriculum vitae. Please include undergraduate and graduate education, dates of study, areas of study, publications, and previous or current fellowships, grants, and awards.

Once under consideration for the Ellen Brenner Memorial Internship, applicants may also be asked to provide references or letters of recommendation.

The statement of purpose should be 500-1000 words in 12-point font, double-spaced. It should include a description of your career goals and an explanation of the importance of the fellowship both in relation to your own career goals and the broader discipline.

The selection of Ellen Brenner Memorial interns is based on CSHL's determination of:

  1. Motivation to pursue professional development activities in the areas of science, library and information science, and archives management.
  2. Evidence of the applicant's ability to succeed as a science librarian or archivist.

If you have any questions about applying, please contact Ms. Tara Bonet-Black: (516) 367-5020 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Download this file (Ellen Brenner CSHL application form.pdf)Ellen Brenner CSHL application form.pdf 80 kB

The Sydney Brenner Research Fellowship, endowed by the Francis Goelet Charitable Trust in 2006, is one of three opportunities offered by the CSHL Center for Humanities & History of Modern Biology. It offers stipends of up to $5,000 to fund travel and other expenses associated with work on a significant research project in the history of the life sciences drawing on collections in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives. The CSHL collections themselves are very broad in scope, with extensive manuscript and photograph collections encompassing activity around the world as well as at CSHL and several precursor institutions. While around a third of our collections are digitized and can be consulted online, many materials can only be viewed at the archive. Please see descriptions of the CSHL collections at the Archives homepage and consult detailed finding aids on CSHL ArchivesSpace.

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2021-2022 academic year.


Sydney Brenner Research Fellowships are intended to support research and publication (or other exhibition/dissemination) of ambitious, original projects in the history of the life sciences. Researchers will normally spend at least half the time for the Brenner-funded research in residence at CSHL.

About the Award

Award Benefits

The Sydney Brenner Research Fellowship awards up to $5,000 (USD) to each recipient to support direct costs of completing the proposed project, which should include a period in residence at CSHL. While here, Brenner Fellows will have a work space in the Carnegie Library, complete access to our collections, and support from our team of archivists, librarians, and historians. If space permits, Brenner Fellows will have the opportunity to rent accommodation on campus during their stay.

Who is Eligible?

The fellowship is open to scholars (at any career stage), journalists, writers, filmmakers, and creative artists undertaking substantial research into the history of the life sciences using but not limited to the collections at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archvies.

Application Instructions

Application Deadline

Applications must be received by 11:59pm EST (UTC−05:00) on 31 January 2020 to be considered for the 2020-2021 academic year.

How to Apply

The application package must include the following:

  1. A completed application form, including names and contact information for two individuals who are familliar with your work and would be willing to provide letters of recommendation upon request from CSHL.
  2. A research proposal (see below for detailed instructions).
  3. A selected bibliography of titles or collections in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library and Archives that are relevant to your research proposal.
  4. A brief budget statement showing the expenses for which support is requested.
  5. A curriculum vitae. Please include education and employment history, dates of study, areas of study, previous publications, and previous or current fellowships, grants, and awards.

Please submit applications electronically via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Attach all documents in .pdf, .doc, or .docx formats, with a brief covering letter in the body of the email. Please format the subject line of your email as "Sydney Brenner Research Fellowship application [Year] - [Your Name]"

About the Research Proposal

In a maximum of 1000 words, the proposal should explain your research question or objective, the sources you intend to use (both at CSHL and elsewhere), and the significance of the proposed research to your scholarly trajectory and to your discipline or field. Please specify the items or record groups you would use at the CSHL Library and Archives and give a tentative schedule for completion of your project.

Please submit your proposal in double-spaced 12-point font.

Selection Criteria

The Brenner Fellowship committee seeks proposals that are sophisticated, detailed, and original. Relevance of CSHL collections to the project (and vice versa) is an important factor, but the committee's primary consideration will be the overall quality and significance of the project. If you are still at the initial stages of formulating a project, please consider applying instead for one of our travel grants to visit CSHL.

Announcement of Scholarship Recipients

The Brenner Fellowship committee will notify recipients in April of a given year.

Award Conditions

What is Expected of Fellowship Recipients
  • Brenner Fellowship funds must be used during the academic year following notification of the award (July 1 to June 30).
  • If possible, Brenner Fellows will present preliminary results of their research to the CSHL community in a talk.
  • The research findings should also be presented in professional talks or other venues, and culminate in scholarly articles, book(s), or other forms of creative expression.
  • A copy of the final research output is to be donated to the CSHL Library and Archives.
  • Allowable Expenses

    The stipend can be used for any purpose relating to the scholar's research project, including travel, transportation, daily expenses, and accommodations at CSHL and other relevant archives, over the course of one year. Other types of permissible expenses include those associated with translating relevant primary sources, recording oral history interviews, transcribing oral history interviews, and microfilming archival materials.

    Previous Awardees


    Year Awardee Research Product
    2020-2021 Erling Norrby
    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
    Review Delbruck, Hershey, and Luria: Recipients of the Nobel Prize Physiology and Medicine 1979
    2020-2021 Daniel Nicholson
    Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, Klosterneuburg, Austria
    Rethinking Schrodinger’s Impact on Molecular Biology
    2020-2021 Gina Surita
    Princeton University
    The Currency of the Cell: Energy, Metabolism, and Life in Twentieth-Century Biochemistry
    2019-2020 Helen Muller
    University of New Mexico
    Nobel Laureate H.J. Muller’s Tumultuous Life in 1930’s Russia
    2019-2020 Nuala Caomhanach
    New York University
    The Unfinished Synthesis: The Rise of Phylogenetics in an Age of Climate Change, 1880-1990
    2018-2019 Alison Kraft
    Max Planck Institute for
    the History of Science (Berlin, Germany)
    Visiting Scholar, Department I: Structural Changes in Systems of Knowledge
    The Walker B. James Lab: a case study of biophysics in the interwar period.
    2016-2017 Matthew Cobb
    University of Manchester
    Professor, School of Biological Sciences
    An article and BBC radio program on the collaboration of Crick and Brenner, 1956-1976.
    2015-2016 Miriam Rich
    Harvard University
    Doctoral Candidate, History of Science
    Ph.D. thesis chapter on the scientific concept of defects of development.
    2014-2015 Erika Langer
    University of San Francisco
    Doctoral Candidate, History of Health Science

    Molecular Ferment: The Rise and Proliferation of Yeast Model Organism Research (2016), University of California, San Francisco, (Doctoral Dissertation).

    Dr. Langer says of the Sydney Brenner Research Scholarship and her time at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory:

    My visit to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory deepened my understanding of my subject matter, not only through the Archives' preservation of rich source materials relevant to my project but also through the direct experience of the Laboratory setting--its architecture, environment, and celebration of living history. The Archives offers scholars excellent open access to its digitized collections, but I am indebted to the Sydney Brenner Research Scholarship for the unparalleled experience of an in-person visit with the superb help of onsite staff.


    2013-2014 Lijing Jiang
    Princeton University
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    A book on the history of cell death and aging research.
    2012-2013 Gregory J. Morgan
    Stevens Institute of Technology
    Associate Professor, Philosophy
    A book on the history of tumor virology.
    2011-2012 Judith Cuddihy
    Acquisition and Developmental Editor
    Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
    An exhibit showcasing the life of scientist Calvin Bridges (1889-1938).
    2008-2009 Marsha Richmond
    Wayne State University
    Associate Professor, History of Science
    Examination of CSHL's visual collections for the history of women's role in early genetics.
    2007-2008 James Schwartz
    Harvard University
    Visiting Scholar in Molecular and Cellular Biology

    James Schwartz's book, In Pursuit of the GeneIn Pursuit of the Gene: From Darwin to DNA (2010), Harvard University Press. (book)

    The mystery of inheritance has captivated thinkers since antiquity, and the unlocking of this mystery—the development of classical genetics—is one of humanity’s greatest achievements. This great scientific and human drama is the story told fully and for the first time in this book.

    Acclaimed science writer James Schwartz presents the history of genetics through the eyes of a dozen or so central players, beginning with Charles Darwin and ending with Nobel laureate Hermann J. Muller. In tracing the emerging idea of the gene, Schwartz deconstructs many often-told stories that were meant to reflect glory on the participants and finds that the “official” version of discovery often hides a far more complex and illuminating narrative. The discovery of the structure of DNA and the more recent advances in genome science represent the culmination of one hundred years of concentrated inquiry into the nature of the gene. Schwartz’s multifaceted training as a mathematician, geneticist, and writer enables him to provide a remarkably lucid account of the development of the central ideas about heredity, and at the same time bring to life the brilliant and often eccentric individuals who shaped these ideas.

    In the spirit of the late Stephen Jay Gould, this book offers a thoroughly engaging story about one of the oldest and most controversial fields of scientific inquiry. It offers readers the background they need to understand the latest findings in genetics and those still to come in the search for the genetic basis of complex diseases and traits.

    2006-2007 Robert Olby
    University of Pittsburgh
    Department of History and Philosophy of Science

    Francis Crick: Hunter of Life's Secrets Book CoverFrancis Crick: Hunter of Life's Secrets (2009), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. (book)

    "This engrossing biography by one of molecular biology's foremost scholars reveals the remarkable evolution of Francis Crick's scientific career and the shaping of his personality. From unpromising beginnings, he became a vital contributor to a remarkably creative period in science. Olby chronicles Crick's life from his early studies in biophysics, to the discovery of the structure of DNA, to his later work in neuroscience and the nature of consciousness. This account is woven together with insights into his personal life gained through access to Crick's papers, family, and friends. Robert Olby's book is a richly detailed portrait of one of the great scientists of our time."

    Review from Human Genetics:

    Crick could have wished for no more suitable biographer than science historian Robert Olby, who knew him for almost 40 years and who has had full access to family members and documents...Olby gives a vivid account both of Crick's work over a period of 60 years, and of his life, and there is much in this book that will prove to be unfamiliar, perhaps especially to geneticists...For exploring and documenting all these and other aspects of Crick's life in a readable, sensitive and not uncritical manner, readers from all backgrounds have much to thank Robert Olby for. His story will help to confirm Francis Crick as one of the key people responsible for the transformation of our understanding of life and its processes.




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    Grants & Fellowships

    The CSHL Center for Humanities & History of Modern Biology supports scholarship, education, and librarianship by awarding fellowships of three types each year.

    Sydney Brenner

    Sydney Brenner Research Fellowships recognize and support historians, writers, and artists who are engaged in ambitious and significant work on the history of the life sciences. 

    Read on for more information.

    Carnegie Building

    Research Travel Grants defray travel and lodging costs for individuals planning to travel to the Archives for research purposes.

    Read on for more information.

    Ellen Brenner

    Ellen Brenner Memorial Internships are awarded to librarians, archivists, or MLS candidates who wish to further their studies in science librarianship, and members of the scientific community who wish to begin or continue a career as a science librarian or archivist.

    Read on for more information.

    Stipends to support research in CSHL collections are also available through the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine. CHSTM's fellowship  program includes a number of options to fund research across the scholarly collections of the consortium, including CSHL. Please see the Consortium’s fellowship website for more the most up-to-date details.

    If you have any questions about grants awarded directly by the CSHL Center for Humanities & History of Modern Biology, please contact Ms. Tara Bonet-Black: (516) 367-5020 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    Quantitative Biology Journals

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    natureCB web






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    PLOSCBOA web








    ACSSB web


     Bioinformatics publishes the highest quality scientific papers and review articles of interest to academic and industrial researchers. Its main focus is on new developments in genome bioinformatics and computational biology. With an impact factor of 7.3 (2016), Bioinformatics focuses on work that significantly advances our understanding of genetics.


    BMC Bioinformatics is an open access, peer-reviewed journal  that considers articles on all aspects of the development, testing and novel application of computational and statistical methods for the modeling and analysis of all kinds of biological data, as well as other areas of computational biology. With an impact factor of 2.5 (2016), BMC Bioinformatics articles are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication, without subscription charges or registration barriers.


    BMC Systems Biology is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in experimental and theoretical aspects of the function of biological systems at the molecular, cellular or organismal level, in particular those addressing the engineering of biological systems, network modelling, quantitative analyses, integration of different levels of information and synthetic biology. With an impact factor of 2.3 (2016)BMC Systems Biology articles are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication, without subscription charges or registration barriers.


    Nature Cell Biology publishes papers of the highest quality from all areas of cell biology, encouraging those that shed light on the molecular mechanisms responsible for fundamental cell biological processes. With an impact factor of 20.1 (2016)Nature Cell Biology publish high-impact research relevant to a broad range of cell biologists.


    Nature Biotechnology publishes papers on molecular engineering of nucleic acids and proteins; molecular therapy (therapeutics genes, antisense, siRNAs, aptamers, DNAzymes, ribozymes, peptides, proteins); large-scale biology (genomics, functional genomics, proteomics, structural genomics, metabolomics, etc.); computational biology (algorithms and modeling), regenerative medicine (stem cells, tissue engineering, biomaterials); imaging technology; analytical biotechnology (sensors/detectors for analytes/macromolecules), applied immunology (antibody engineering, xenotransplantation, T-cell therapies); food and agricultural biotechnology; and environmental biotechnology. With an impact factor of 41.7 (2016)Nature Biotechnology articles cover the breadth and significance of the work to the biotechnology community.


    PLoS Computational Biology provides substantial new insight into living systems at all scales, from the nano to the macro, and across multiple disciplines, from molecular science, neuroscience and physiology to ecology and population biology. With an impact factor of 4.5 (2016)PLoS Computational Biology features works of exceptional significance that further our understanding of living systems at all scales—from molecules and cells, to patient populations and ecosystems—through the application of computational methods.



    ACS Synthetic Biology publishes high-quality research that demonstrate integrative, molecular approaches enabling better understanding of the organization and function of cells, tissues, and organisms in systems. With an impact factor of 5.4 (2016)ACS Synthetic Biology is particularly interested in studies on the design and synthesis of new genetic circuits and gene products; computational methods in the design of systems; and integrative applied approaches to understanding disease and metabolism.

    Availability of Material

    For specific information on the availability of materials or to arrange an appointment to use the Archives, please contact (516)367-8414 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please consult our Permissions & Copyright Policies for any materials you wish to use.

    This collection was processed under the grant History and Development of Molecular Biology: New Sources through the Hidden Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives Collections (1890-1910), (NAS11-RB-50178-11). Funding provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. nhprc-2-m