Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are you still unsure about what the InvestiGators Research Honors Society encompasses? The following topics cover a range of questions that potential applicants and Investigators have asked:
Choices to Make
Q: How do I know which working group will be right for me?
This can be difficult because the groups seem to be working on such a wide variety of nutrition related topics. However, if you join the InvestiGators you begin to see that there is much overlap between the working groups. New members will work with different groups in turn to gain an understanding about what each group does, and will eventually be matched into the group(s) that best fit their research interests.
Q: Do InvestiGators get along?
IvestiGators members have a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, non-academic interests, career goals, and personalities. Members will frequently develop friendships with fellow InvestiGators. However, we are first and foremost, research colleagues. The InvestiGators Research Honor Society is a diverse group of individuals that come together to accomplish an overall goal of working towards pushing the frontiers of science.
Q: I am currently a freshman in my first semester at UF. Can I apply now or should I wait?
YES! We accept undergraduates from all backgrounds, majors and classifications (freshman, sophomore, etc.), but we encourage freshmen and sophomores to apply in order to receive the full benefit of being in the InvestiGators. Most of the work we do depends on the members' motivation, maturity, willingness to learn, and interest in research, more so than age or number of semesters in college.
Q: Do I need to be a science major to be accepted?
NO! We encourage all students, regardless of major, to apply. There is more to learn from time spent with the InvestiGators than science. Our members’ majors have ranged from Microbiology to Classics to Statistics.
Q: I applied once before but was not selected. Should I apply again? What are my chances at becoming a member of the InvestiGators if I were to apply again?
We strongly encourage all applicants who were not selected to reapply again when they feel they are ready. Numerous factors are involved with the selection process and if you were not selected the previous semester, this should not deter you from reapplying again the following semester. If you feel you are at the right point in your career and are prepared, please apply.
Q: Do I need to be an undergraduate student at the University of Florida?
Yes, we only accept undergraduate students from UF. However, if you are a graduate student interested in joining Dr. Borum’s research group, please email Dr. Borum at
Q: How much work does the group require?
There is a minimum requirement of 20 hours per week, however most members will put in more than this minimum. All members must be able to remain with the InvestiGators until time of graduation, and are expected to stay for summer terms even if they are not taking classes.
Q: Am I required to do research during the summer?
Yes, as an InvestiGator you must do research during the spring, summer, and fall semesters. This is because we have clinics that occur year round. The InvestiGators observes all University of Florida holidays and breaks.
Q: That is a large time commitment. What do members work on in this time period?
A portion of the time spent in lab is devoted to meetings for each working group and to manage additional responsibilities. Each working group has certain tasks for members that they have to accomplish each week. A member's time can involve working on clinic preparation, inputting, organizing and analyzing data, performing assays, general lab housekeeping tasks and working on individual projects.
Q: Am I allowed to study abroad while I am an InvestiGator?
While we require you to stay every semester until you graduate (including summers), some InvestiGators have studied abroad in the past during intercession breaks. InvestiGators that would like to study abroad should mention this interest on their application or during their interview. InvestiGators typically meet with their team and Dr. Borum to plan for this opportunity.
Q: Are there opportunities for members to attend conferences?
Typically, there are two main national conferences that members may attend per year: Clinical Nutrition Week (held in the early part of Spring Semester) and the Experimental Biology Conference (held at the end of Spring Semester). In addition, there are many local, undergraduate research conferences that members may attend.
Questions About the Working Groups
Q: Will I be able to interact with patients and/or members of the community?
Yes, members of many working groups are able to have direct interaction with patients and their families. This connection is strongest in the Pediatric Malnutrition and Epilepsy working groups, however any InvestiGator may choose to participate in clinics where they will have the opportunity to interact with patients. If this is something you are interested in we encourage you to mention it during your interview and discuss it with Dr. Borum once you become a part of the InvestiGators.
Q: What is involved with a piglet experiment?
Please see the Piglet Experiments part of the website for more information.
Q: Who performs the piglet surgeries?
Surgeons from UF Health come up to our lab to perform the surgeries because of the intricacy of the survival surgery procedures. Members of the Piglet Working Group and Dr. Borum take part in the preparation, survival surgery, and non-survival surgery. During the experiments, members of the Piglet Working Group care for the piglet.
Q: How is the piglet used as a model for humans? Why is a piglet used as a model for humans?
The piglet is similar to a neonate in terms of development and physiology. This allows the piglet to be used as a model in both care and experimentation. The piglet can be cared for in an environment similar to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in our lab while administering constant care. The piglet can also be given a specific nutrient formula, while its vitals, blood and urine are analyzed and its growth recorded. The compartmentalization of various organs is also more similar between a piglet and neonate then any other animal model currently in use.
Preparation for Success
Q: Who is Dr. Borum?
Dr. Borum is a Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Florida and is the main force behind the InvestiGators Research Honor Society. She is the principal investigator of the group and one of a very small group of researchers who allow undergraduates to truly be involved with research.
Q: The website says you are currently not accepting applications. When will they be available again?
The InvestiGators interviews prospective members once per semester, usually during the first few weeks of classes. Continue to periodically check the website for details.
Q: How does the interview process work?
For more information on the Interview Process, please refer to the Application page.
Q: How long does the interview last?
Primary interviews will last between 15 and 20 minutes and secondary interviews will last between 25 and 30 minutes. Each candidate is given the same amount of time to adequately and fairly represent themselves. This also enables the interviewers enough time to interview and evaluate the interviewee and make a respective decision.
Q: How will I be contacted?
While going through the interview process, the primary means of communication will be via email. Please make sure to check your email account and provide a phone number through which to contact you.
Q: What can I expect if I am selected to become a part of the InvestiGators?
An InvestiGator representative will notify you and upon first meeting the working group you will be guided through your first semester as an InvestiGator. However, all InvestiGators will be there to help you out and answer any questions you may have. The initial weeks as a member involve training, certification and reading background information.
If you have any other questions, please e-mail us at


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Dr. Peggy R. Borum
University of Florida
FSHN Department
P. O. Box #110370
Gainesville, FL 32611-0370

409A FSHN Bldg
Newell Drive
UF Campus
Phone: 352-392-7553
Fax: 352-392-8957


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